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Call No. 1 35 - 323/J770 Accession No.1 631 f ' 

Au,thor J one s , Erne st , K .3) 
Title On the nightmare 

This book should be returned on or before the date last marked below 



No. 20 


No. 20 " 










^Printed in Great Britain by R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, Edinburgh. 

So on his Nightmare, through the evening fog, 
Flits the squat fiend o'er fen, and lake, and bog ; 
Seeks some love-wilder' d maid with sleep oppressed, 
Alights, and grinning sits upon her breast- 
Such as of late, amid the murky sky, 
Was marked by Fuseli's poetic eye ; 
Whose daring tints, with Shakspeare's happiest grace, 
Gave to the airy phantom form and place 
Back o'er her pillow sinks her blushing head, 
Her snow-white limbs hang helpless from the bed ; 
While with quick sighs and suffocative breath 
Her interrupted heart-pulse swims in death. 



f | ^HE history of this book is as follows. Only Part I. 
I has appeared hitherto in English, in the A merican 
Journal of Insanity, January 1910. Part II. is a 
translation from a booklet entitled Der Alptraum in 
seiner Beziehung zu gewissen Formen des mittelalterlichen 
Aberglaubens, which was published in 1912 as Heft XIV. 
of the Schriften zur angewandten Seelenkunde. Part III. 
was being prepared for publication when the War broke 
out, and pressure of other work has laid it aside till now. 
Part IV., now marked off separately, was the Conclusion 
to Der Alptraum. Most of the book was thus written in 
the years 1909 and 1910. In revising it for English publi- 
cation I have freely re-arranged the material, especially 
in Part III. Some confirmatory material of which I have 
jotted down notes from time to time has been added, but 
anything substantially post-dating the original is enclosed 
in square brackets. Professor Priebsch has read through 
the chapter on etymology (Part III. Chapter V.), but while 
grateful to him for his kindly criticism I do not wish to 
hold him responsible for the views there expressed. To 
the courtesy of Professor Ganz of Basle I owe both the 
permission to reproduce the plate of Fuseli's celebrated 
picture and also practical assistance in making this 
possible. To my wife, Dr. Katherine Jones, I am deeply 
indebted for much expert criticism and suggestion and 
for unfailing encouragement and help in what in the 
circumstances of my life was an arduous labour. 



The question may naturally arise why, in a study ad- 
vancing so rapidly as psycho-analysis is, one should 
think it worth while to publish work done more than 
twenty years ago. The answer lies only partly in the 
numerous requests that it should be made accessible. 
A more compelling reason will be discovered in the fol- 
lowing considerations. 

For the true significance of the Nightmare to be pro- 
perly appreciated, first by the learned professions and 
then by the general public, would in my opinion entail 
consequences, both scientific and social, to which the 
term momentous might well be applied. What is at issue 
is nothing less than the very meaning of religion itself. 
In this book I have, brought forward reasons why an 
intensive study of the Nightmare and the beliefs held 
about it makes it hard to avoid the conclusion that re- 
ligion is in its essence one of the means hitherto per- 
haps the most valuable of helping mankind to cope 
with the burden of guilt and fear everyone inherits in his 
unconscious from the deepest stirrings of mental life, the 
primordial conflict over incest. Other workers, notably 
Freud and Reik, have confirmed and amplified this con- 
clusion, which the world will one day have seriously to 
take into its reckoning. 

January 1931 









I. DREAMS AND BELIEFS . . . . -58 

II. THE NIGHTMARE . . . . -73 


IV. THE VAMPIRE ...... 98 

V. THE WEREWOLF . . . . .131 

VI. THE DEVIL ...... 154 

VII. WITCHES ...... 190 

SUMMARY ...... 237 



I. INTRODUCTION ...... 243 






CONCLUSION ...... 341 

INDEX OF AUTHORS . . . . . 351 

GENERAL INDEX ..... 359 




No malady that causes mortal distress to the 
sufferer, not even seasickness, is viewed by 
medical science with such complacent indiffer- 
ence as is the one which is the subject of this book. Text- 
books, both on bodily and on mental disorders, may in 
vain be ransacked for any adequate description of the 
phenomenon, and still less satisfying is the search for 
anything more than the most superficial consideration 
of the pathogenesis of it. The clinical aspects of the 
malady are commonly ignored except for some desultory 
remarks on the frequency of bad dreams in certain affec- 
tions, particularly mitral disease, of which condition in- 
deed they are sometimes alleged to be a diagnostic 
indication. 1 On the rare and embarrassing occasions on 
which a physician's aid is sought the consolation offered 
usually takes the form of irrelevant advice on matters of 
general hygiene, coupled perhaps with the administra- 
tion of such potent remedies as silica and cinnibar 2 or 
with a half -jocular remark concerning the assimilable 
-capacity of the evening meal. The relief afforded to the 
sufferer does not surpass that obtainable in ages when 
the treatment in vogue consisted in scarifying the throat 
and shaving the head, 3 in bleeding at the ankle, 4 or in 
the administration of wild carrot, Macedonian parsley 5 
and the black seeds of the male peony, 6 

The reasons for this state of affairs are manifold, but 
the central one can be hinted at. It is not often realised 
that most descriptions of Nightmare given by its victims 

1 Artiques, Essai sur la valeur stmeiologique du reve. These de Paris, 1884, 
No. 99. M. A. Macario, Du sommeil, des reves et du somnambulisme, 1857, etc - 

2 Marggraf, Die Schlaflosigkeit, Schlafsucht, das Alpdrucken und nervose 
Herzklopfen, 1905, S. 12. 

8 A. Caelius, Tard. Pass., 1618, i. 3. 

4 Rhases, Ad. Mansor. ix. 12. Con tin. i. 

5 Paulus Aegineta, Sydenham Transactions, vol. i. p. 388. 

6 Andrew Bell, Nocturnal Revels, or a General History of Dreams, 1707, Pt. i. 
p. 14. 



are an inarticulate and feeble echo of the dread reality. 
This is one result of the general human tendency to shun 
deep emotions whenever possible, leading to an imper- 
fect appreciation of the intensity of mental suffering. 
Another manifestation of this tendency is the still pre- 
vailing materialistic attitude towards the origin and 
nature of mental symptoms in general, and of dreams in 
particular, which are regarded by physicians as being 
produced by unaccountable alimentary and circulatory 
vagaries and as having no serious import. It is significant 
in this connection that earnest consideration of the 
malady has as a rule been offered only by actual sufferers, 
such as Bond, 1 Hodgkin, Boerner, Fosgate, Waller, Mac- 
nish, Boschulte, and others. 

Even from a physical standpoint, however, it is 
questionable if the condition is so negligible. When it is 
remembered that the occurrence of a cerebral haemor- 
rhage probably always takes place at a moment when the 
blood pressure is above the average for that of the in- 
dividual, it would seem to follow that the number of 
attacks occurring during sleep must be small. Some years 
ago I was able to show, 2 on the contrary, that the pro- 

1 J. Bond, An Essay on the Incubus, or Nightmare, 1753. In the preface he 
states that his was the first book written expressly on the subject. Before his 
date, however, had appeared the following works: W. Schmidt, De Ephialte 
sive Incubone, Rostock, 1627. Teichmeyer, De Incubo, Jena, 1640. Welsch, De 
Incubo, Leipsic, 1643. A. Wanckel, De Incubo, Witteberg, 1651. G. F. Aeplinius, 
Diss. sistens aegrum incubo laborantem, Jena, 1678. J. P. Jorolis, De Incubo, 
Ultrajeckti, 1680. D. C. Meinicke, De Incubo, Jena, 1683. J. Muller, De Ephialte 
seu Incubo, Leipsic, 1688. C. G. Wenzlovius, De Incubo, Frankfort, 1691. 
G. S. S. Herzberg, De Incubo, Traj. ad Rhenum, 1691. C. L. Gockel, De Incubo 
ex epitome praxeos clinicae, Jena, 1708. J. M. Rosner, De Incubo, Erfodiae, 1708. 

C. B. Hagedorn, De Incubo, Kiel, 1730. Huisinga, Diss. sistens incubi causas 
praecipuas, Lugd. Bat., 1734. M. Chardulliet, De Incubo, Argentorati, 1734. 

D. Textoris, De Incubo, Jena, 1740. 

In the next hundred years appeared, apart from the many works cited else- 
where in this book, Kok, De Incubo, Lou vain, 1795. J. F. E. Waechter, De 
Ephialte, Halle, 1800. J. Unthank, De Incubo, Edinburgh, 1803. L. Dubosquet, 
Dissertation sur le cauchemar, Paris, 1815. S. Simpson, De Incubo, Bonn, 1825. 
H. J. Wolter, De Incubo, Berlin, 1827. J. C. F. Adler, De Incubo, Berlin, 1827. 
F. Dony, De Incubo, Berlin, 1829. C. D. F. Hainlin, De Incubo, Gottingen, 1830. 
C. G. Kiihn, Pr. inert. Caelii Aureliani de incubo tractatio, Leipsic, 1830. A. 
Castellano, Dello incubo commentario medico, Venice, 1840. J. Kutsche, De 
Incubo ejusque medela, Berlin, 1842. 

8 Ernest Jones, The Onset of Hemiplegia in Vascular Lesions', Brain, 1905, 
vol. xxviii. p. 533. 


tection against cerebral haemorrhage afforded by sleep is 
decidedly less than might have been supposed, and one 
cannot help thinking that the rise of blood pressure that 
must accompany the violent agonies of many bad dreams, 
and especially of Nightmares, is probably related to this 
fact. Vaschide and Marchand 1 have found that the blood 
pressure rises 25 mm. during an Angst attack in the 
waking state, and this, though clinically and patho- 
genetically akin to it, is much less severe than a Night- 
mare attack. Kornfeld's 2 observations led him to con- 
clude that the rise of blood pressure constitutes the chief 
symptom of an Angst attack, and that the extent of this 
rise is the most accurate measure of the intensity of the 
attack. [The evidence for the rise of blood pressure during 
sleep disturbed by Nightmare dreams has been con- 
sidered at length by Mac William. 3 ] Thus the unanimous 
opinions of the older authors, from Paulus Aegineta 4 
and Avicenna 5 to Boerhaave, 6 Bond, 7 Macnish, 8 Arbuth- 
not, 9 Forbes Winslow, 10 Hammond 11 and Foville, 12 con- 
cerning the important part played by Nightmares in the 
causation of apoplexy may well have had a very con- 
siderable backing of truth. 

On the mental side, the frequency with which attacks 
of Nightmare precede or accompany the development of 
hysteria and insanity has been noted by the majority of 

1 N. Vaschide and Marchand, 'Contribution k l'e*tude de la psycho-physio- 
logic des Emotions a propos d'un cas d'ereuthophobie', Revue de Psychiatric, 
juillet, 1900, t. iii. p. 193, and 'Ufficio che le condizioni mentali hanno sulle 
modificazioni della respirazione e della circolazione perif erica', Revista speri- 
mentale di freniatria, 1900, vol. xxvi. p. 512. 

2 Kornfeld, Centralblatt f. d. ges. Therapie, 1902, No. n, u. 12. 

8 J. A. MacWilliam, 'Blood Pressures in Man under Normal and Pathological 
Conditions', Physiological Review, 1925, vol. v. p. 303. 
* Paulus Aegineta, op. cit. p. 388. 

5 Avicenna, cited by Motet in S. Jaccoud's Nouveau Dictionnaire, 1867, 
t. vi. Art. 'Cauchemar*. 

6 H. Boerhaave, Aph., 1709, No. 1020. 

7 Bond, op. cit. pp. 64, 65, 69. 

8 R. Macnish, The Philosophy of Sleep, 1834, p. 138. 

9 J. Arbuthnot, On the Nature and Choice of Aliments, 1731. 

10 Forbes Winslow, On Obscure Diseases of the Brain and Disorders of tht 
Mind, 1860, p. 6n. 

11 W. A. Hammond, Sleep and its Derangements, 1869, p. 149. 

18 Foville, cited by T, Hodgkin, Brit. Med. Jour. t May 16, 1863, p 


writers on the subject. 1 Consideration of the actual rela- 
tion of it to these affections will be postponed until some 
conclusion has been reached on more preliminary ques- 
tions. Before entering on a discussion of the pathogenesis 
of the condition it will be well to consider in some detail 
its clinical characteristics and to define its essential 

Striking descriptions of the condition have been given 
by Psellus, 2 Hammond, 3 Radestock 4 and many others, 
As the most graphic accounts, impossible to surpass, 
have been given by self-sufferers I will quote from some 
of the more interesting of these sources and will then 
attempt to summarize the most salient of the character- 
istics there described. Bond, 5 a century and a half ago, 
tersely described the chief features of the condition as 
follows: The Nightmare generally seizes people sleeping 
on their backs, and often begins with frightful dreams, 
which are soon succeeded by a difficult respiration, a 
violent oppression on the breast, and a total privation of 
voluntary motion. In this agony they sigh, groan, utter 
indistinct sounds, and remain in the jaws of death, till, 
by the utmost efforts of nature, or some external assist- 
ance, they escape out of that dreadful torpid state. As 
soon as they shake off that vast oppression, and are able 
to move the body, they are affected with a strong Palpi- 
tation, great Anxiety, Languor, and Uneasiness; which 
symptoms gradually abate, and are succeeded by the 
pleasing reflection of having escaped such imminent 

1 P. Chaslin, Du rdle du reve dans Involution du delire, 1887, pp. 40, 44, 46, 54. 
D. Cubasch, Der Alp, 1877, S. 8. J. E. D. Esquirol, Des maladies mentales, 1832, 
t. ii. ch. xxi. P. Janet, Nevroses et idees fixes, 1898, t. i. ch. ii. et iv. etc. G. Kelle, 
Du sommeil et ses accidents en general et en particulier chez les epileptiques et 
chez les hysteriques. Lhomme, 'Rapport m6dico-16gal sur 1'dtat mental du 
Gendarme S . . .', Annales medico-psychologiques, 1863, 46 se"rie, t. ii. p. 338. 
M. E. Escande de Messieres, Les rSves chez les hysteriques. These de Bordeaux, 
1895. Sante de Sanctis, / sogni, studi psychologici e clinici di un alienista, 1899, 

?p. 140-172. N. Vaschide et Meunier, Revue de Psychiatrie, fe*v., 1901, p. 38. 
. Waller, A Treatise on the Incubus, or Nightmare, 1816, p. 7. 
9 M. C. Psellus, Opus medicum. Carmen de re medica, 1741 ed. 
8 Hammond, op. cit. pp. 183, 184. 

4 P. Radestock, Schlaf und Traum, 1879, S. 126, 127. 

5 Bond, op. cit. p. 2. 


The picture painted by Macnish 1 is so vivid in its 
colouring as to deserve reproduction if only for its liter- 
ary interest. 'Imagination cannot conceive the horrors it 
frequently gives rise to, or language describe them in 
adequate terms. They are a thousand times more fright- 
ful than the visions conjured up by necromancy or 
diablerie] and far transcend everything in history or 
romance, from the fable of the writhing and asp-encircled 
Laocoon to Dante's appalling picture of Ugolino and his 
famished offspring, or the hidden tortures of the Spanish 
Inquisition. The whole mind, during the paroxysm, is 
wrought up to a pitch of unutterable despair; a spell is 
laid upon the faculties, which freezes them into inaction; 
and the wretched victim feels as if pent alive in his 
coffin, or overpowered by resistless and unmitigable 

'The modifications which nightmare assumes are in- 
finite; but one passion is almost never absent that of 
utter and incomprehensible dread. Sometimes the sufferer 
is buried beneath overwhelming rocks, which crush him 
on all sides, but still leave him with a miserable con- 
sciousness of his situation. Sometimes he is involved in 
the coils of a horrid, slimy monster, whose eyes have the 
phosphorescent glare of the sepulchre, and whose breath 
is poisonous as the marsh of Lerna. Everything horrible, 
disgusting or terrific in the physical or moral world, is 
brought before him in fearful array; he is hissed at by 
serpents, tortured by demons, stunned by the hollow 
voices and cold touch of apparitions. A mighty stone is 
laid upon his breast, and crushes him to the ground in 
helpless agony: mad bulls and tigers pursue his palsied 
footsteps: the unearthly shrieks and gibberish of hags, 
witches, and fiends float around him. In whatever situa- 
tion he may be placed, he feels superlatively wretched: 
he is Ixion working for ages at his wheel: he is Sisyphus 
rolling his eternal stone: he is stretched upon the iron 
bed of Procrustes: he is prostrated by inevitable destiny 
beneath the approaching wheels of the Car of Jugger- 

1 Macnish, op, cit. pp. 122-125. 


naut. At one moment he may have the consciousness of 
a malignant demon being at his side: then to shun the 
sight of so appalling an object, he will close his eyes, 
but still the fearful being makes its presence known; for 
its icy breath is felt diffusing itself over his visage, and 
he knows that he is face to face with a fiend. Then, if he 
looks up, he beholds horrid eyes glaring upon him, and 
an* aspect of hell grinning at him with even more than 
hellish malice. Or, he may have the idea of a monstrous 
hag squatted upon his breast mute, motionless and 
malignant; an incarnation of the evil spirit whose in- 
tolerable weight crushes the breath out of his body, and 
whose fixed, deadly, incessant stare petrifies him with 
horror and makes his very existence insufferable. 

'In every instance, there is a sense of oppression and 
helplessness; and the extent to which these are carried, 
varies according to the violence of the paroxysm. The 
individual never feels himself a free agent; on the con- 
trary he is spellbound by some enchantment, and re- 
mains an unresisting victim for malice to work its will 
upon. He can neither breathe, nor walk, nor run, with 
his wonted facility. If pursued by any imminent danger, 
he can hardly drag one limb after another; if engaged in 
combat, his blows are utterly ineffective; if involved in 
the fangs of any animal, or in the grasp of an enemy, 
extrication is impossible. He struggles, he pants, he toils, 
but it is all in vain: his muscles are rebels to the will, and 
refuse to obey its calls. In no case is there a sense of 
complete freedom: the benumbing stupor never departs 
from him; and his whole being is locked up in one mighty 
spasm. Sometimes he is forcing himself through an aper- 
ture too small for the reception of his body, and is there 
arrested and tortured by the pangs of suffocation pro- 
duced by the pressure to which he is exposed; or he loses 
his way in a narrow labyrinth, and gets involved in its 
contracted and inextricable mazes; or he is entombed 
alive in a sepulchre, beside the mouldering dead. There 
is in most cases an intense reality in all that he sees, 01 
hears, or feels. The aspects of the hideous phantoms 


which harass his imagination are bold and defined; the 
sounds which greet his ear appallingly distinct; and when 
any dimness or confusion of imagery does prevail, it is of 
the most fearful kind, leaving nothing but dreary and 
miserable impressions behind it/ 

A more accurate and no less graphic account is given 
by Motet, 1 'Au milieu du sommeil, le dormeur est pris 
tout a coup d'un profond malaise, il se sent suffoque, il 
fait de vains efforts pour inspirer largement Tair qui lui 
manque, et il semble que tout son appareil respiratoire 
soit frappe d'immobilite. Ce qui pour le reveur est le 
plus penible, c'est le sentiment de son impuissance. II 
voudrait hitter contre ce qui I'opprime, il sent qu'il ne 
peut ni se mouvoir ni crier. Des ennemis menagants 
1'enveloppent de tous cotes, des armes s'opposent a sa 
fuite, il entrevoit un moyen de salut, il s'epuise en vains 
efforts pour 1'atteindre. D'autres fois il se sent entraine 
dans une course rapide; il voudrait s'arreter, un gouffre 
beant s'entrouve sous ses pas, il est precipite, et le som- 
meil s'interrompt apres une violente secousse, comme 
celle que produit, dans la veille, une chute, un faux pas. 
Tout ce que T esprit peut in venter de dangers, tout ce 
qu'il y a de plus effrayant, se present e dans le cauchemar. 
La sensation la plus habituelle, est celle d'un corps lourd 
qui comprime le creux epigastrique. Ce corps peut 
prendre toute sorte d' aspects; ordinairement c'est un 
nain difforme qui vient s'asseoir sur la poitrine et re- 
garde avec des yeux menagants. Chez quelques person- 
nes la sensation penible est, pour ainsi dire, prevue. Le 
cauchemar commence par une veritable hallucination; 
Tetre qui va sauter sur la poitrine (ephialte) est aper$u 
dans la chambre, on le voit venir, on voudrait pouvoir 
lui echapper, et deja Timmobilite est absolue; ilbondit 
sur le lit, on voit ses traits grimagants, il s'avance et 
quand il a pris sa place accoutum6e, le cauchemar arrive 
a son summum d'intensite. A ce moment le corps est 
couvert de sueur, Tanxiet6 est extreme; parfois s'6chap- 
pent des cris, des g6missements, et enfin un reveil 

1 Motet, ibid. 


brusque, accompagne le plus souvent (Tun mouvement 
violent, termine cette scene de terreur/ 

From these and other descriptions we may say that 
the three cardinal features of the malady are (i) agoniz- 
ing dread; (2) sense of oppression or weight at the chest 
which alarmingly interferes with respiration; (3) con- 
viction of helpless paralysis. Other accessory features 
are commonly present as well, but they will be discussed 
after the triad just mentioned has been considered in 
more detail. 

The dread that occurs in Nightmare and in other un- 
pleasant dreams is best denoted by the German word 
Angst, for there is in English no term that indicates the 
precise combination of fearful apprehension, of panic- 
stricken terror, of awful anxiety, dread and anguish that 
goes to make up the emotion of which we are treating. 
The striking characteristic of it in pronounced cases of 
Nightmare is its appalling intensity. That Shakespeare 
well appreciated this is shown by Clarence's outburst on 
awaking from such a dream. 1 

As I am a Christian faithful man 
I would not spend another such a night, 
Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days, 
So full of dismal terror was the time. 

was the cause of 

OU 1U11 Ul Ulbllld.1 LC11U1 Wctb UlC L111W 

After describing the experience that 
so much misery he continues: 2 

I trembling waked, and for a season after 
Could not believe but that I was in hell, 
Such terrible impression made my dream. 

Bond 3 is equally emphatic: 1 have often been so much 
oppressed by this enemy of rest, that I would have given 
ten thousand worlds like this for some Person that would 
either pinch, shake, or turn me off my Back; and I have 
been so much afraid of its intolerable insults, that I have 
slept in a chair all night, rather than give it an oppor- 
tunity of attacking me in an horizontal position/ 

1 King Richard the Third, Act i. Sc. 4, 1. 4. 
2 Op. cit. 1. 61. . 3 Bond, op. cit. p. 71. 


Macnish, 1 in the more distended style that is his 
wont, says: There is something peculiarly horrible 
and paralyzing in the terror of sleep. It lays the 
energies of the soul prostrate before it, crushes them to 
the earth as beneath the weight of an enormous vam- 
pyre, and equalizes for a time the courage of the hero 
and the child. No firmness of mind can at all times with- 
stand the influence of these deadly terrors. The person 
awakes panic-struck from some hideous vision; and even 
after reason returns and convinces him of the unreal 
nature of his apprehensions, the panic for some time 
continues, his heart throbs violently, he is covered with 
cold perspiration, and hides his head beneath the bed- 
clothes, afraid to look around him, lest some dreadful 
object of alarm should start up before his affrighted 
vision. Courage and philosophy are frequently opposed 
in vain to these appalling terrors. The latter dreads what 
he disbelieves; and spectral forms, sepulchral voices, and 
all the other horrid superstitions of sleep arise to vindi- 
cate their power over that mind, which, under the 
fancied protection of reason and science, conceived itself 
shielded from all such attacks, but which, in the hour of 
trial, often sinks beneath their influence as completely as 
the ignorant and unreflecting hind, who never employed 
a thought as to the real nature of these fantastic and 
illusive sources of terror. The alarm of a frightful dream 
is sometimes so overpowering, that persons under the 
impression thus generated, of being pursued by some 
imminent danger, have actually leaped out of the win- 
dow to the great danger and even loss of their lives/ 

The second cardinal feature in the attack is the sense of 
stifling oppression on the chest as of an overpowering 
weight that impedes the respiration often to the ex- 
treme limit of endurance. Radestock 2 regards this in- 
hibition of respiration as the central symptom of the 
attack: 'Steigert sich die Athembeklemmung zur Athem- 
noth, welche im Wachen als beschwerliches Athemholen 
empfunden wird, so entsteht das vielgefiirchtete Alp- 

1 Macnish, op. cit. p. 68. a Radestock, op. cit. S. 126. 


driicken.' ('If the interference with breathing increases to 
the point of suffocation, felt in the waking state as a 
great difficulty in drawing breath, then there comes 
about the greatly dreaded Nightmare/) Erasmus Dar- 
win, 1 on the other hand, maintained that there cannot 
exist any actual difficulty of breathing, since the mere 
suspension of volition will not produce any, the respira- 
tion going on as well asleep as awake; he, therefore, 
doubted the observation. Waller 2 pertinently remarked 
to this that 'any person that has experienced a paroxysm 
of Night-mare, will be disposed rather to give up Dr. 
Darwin's hypothesis than to mistrust his own feelings as 
to the difficulty of breathing, which is by far the most 
terrific and painful of any of the symptoms. The dread 
of suffocation, arising from the inability of inflating the 
lungs, is so great, that the person, who for the first time 
in his life is attacked by this " worst phantom of the 
night ", generally imagines that he has very narrowly 
escaped death, and that a few seconds more of the com- 
plaint would inevitably have proved fatal/ 

The third typical feature of the malady is the utter 
powerlessness, amounting to a feeling of complete par- 
alysis, which is the only response of the organism to the 
agonizing effort that it makes to relieve itself of the 
choking oppression. Many writers, such as Kelle, 3 Hodg- 
kin, 4 etc., put this in the forefront of the picture, and 
Macnish 5 considers it a diagnostic feature in distinguish- 
ing Nightmare from other forms of unpleasant dreams. 
He writes: 'In incubus, the individual feels as if his 
powers of volition were totally paralyzed; and as if he 
were altogether unable to move a limb in his own behalf, 
or utter a cry expressive of his agony. When these 
feelings exist, we may consider the case to be one of 
nightmare: when they do not, and when, notwithstanding 
his terror, he seems to himself to possess unrestrained 

1 Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, 1796, vol. i. Sect, xviii. 3, p. 205. 

2 Waller, op. cit. p. 13. 
8 Kelle, op. cit. p. 23. 

4 T. Hodgkin, Brit. Med. Journ., May 16, 1863, p. 501. 

5 Macnish, op. cit. p. 73. 


muscular motion, to run with ease, breathe freely, and 
enjoy the full capability of exertion, it must be regarded 
as a simple dream/ Erasmus Darwin, 1 indeed, held the 
view that the malady was nothing more than too deep 
a sleep; 'in which situation of things the power of volition, 
of command over the muscles, of voluntary motion, is 
too completely suspended; and that the efforts of the 
patient to recover this power constitute the disease we 
call Night-mare'. This paralysis is perhaps most charac- 
teristic with the voice. To quote Macnish 2 again: 'In 
general, during an attack, the person has the conscious- 
ness of an utter inability to express his horror by cries. 
He feels that his voice is half choked by impending 
suffocation, and that any exertion of it, farther than a 
deep sigh or groan, is impossible. Sometimes, however, 
he conceives that he is bellowing with prodigious energy, 
and wonders that the household are not alarmed by his 
noise. But this is an illusion: those outcries which he 
fancies himself uttering, are merely obscure moans, 
forced with difficulty and pain from the stifled penetralia 
of his bosom/ 

The relation to one another of the members of this 
triad of symptoms is admirably portrayed by Cubasch 3 : 
'zu einer beliebigen Stunde der Nacht fiihlt der Traii- 
mende plotzlich, oder nach und nach, dass die Respira- 
tion behindert ist; irgend ein Wesen, meistens ein zottiges 
Thier, oder eine hassliche menschliche Gestalt stemmt 
sich dem Schlafer auf die Brust, oder schniirt ihm die 
Kehle zu, und sucht ihn zu erwiirgen; die Angst wird mit 
der Athemnoth immer grosser, jede Gegenwehr ist un- 
moglich, denn wie durch Zauberkraft sind alle Glieder 
gelahmt; der Ungliickliche sucht zu fliehen umsonst, 
er ist wie angewurzelt an die Stelle; die Gefahr, die Angst 
wird immer grosser, da endlich iiberwindet eine letze 
furchtbare Kraft anstrengung das feindliche Wesen, eine 
heftige Bewegung erweckt den Traumenden aus seinem 
Schlafe und Alles ist voriiber, nur der kalte Schweiss 

1 Darwin, cited by Waller, op. cit. p. 12. 
2 Macnish, op. cit. p. 140. 3 Cubasch, op. cit. S. 8. 


auf dem ganzen Korper, ein laut horbares Herzklopfen 
erinnert den Erwachten an den verzweifelten Kampf auf 
Leben und Tod, an die grassliche Todesangst, die er 
soeben zu iiberstehen hatte. Dieses sind in Kiirze die 
Erscheinungen des Alps; nie fehlende Symptome sind 
die Athemnoth und die mil ihr vergeschwisterte Angst, 
das Gefiihl eines schweren Korpers auf der Brust, das 
Unvermogen, irgend welche Gegenwehr zu leisten, oder 
irgend eine Bewegung zu machen/ ('At any particular 
hour of the night the dreamer feels, either suddenly or 
gradually, that his respiration is impeded. Some kind of 
Being, most often a shaggy animal, or else a hideous 
human form presses on the sleeper's breast, or pinions 
his throat and tries to strangle him. The terror increases 
with the suffocation, every effort at defence is impossible, 
since all his limbs are paralysed as though by magical 
power. The unhappy person seeks to escape, but in vain, 
for he is rooted to the spot. The danger, the terror, be- 
comes ever greater, and then at last a final frightful 
effort overcomes the adverse Being, a vigorous move- 
ment wakens the dreamer from his sleep, and all is over 
only the cold sweat over the whole body and a loudly 
audible beating of the heart serve to remind the waking 
person of his desperate life and death struggle, of the 
horrible and deathly terror he has just had to endure. 
These are in short the signs of Nightmare: invariable 
symptoms are the suffocation and the dread accompany- 
ing this, the sensation of a heavy body on the breast and 
the impossibility of offering any defence or of making 
any sort of movement/) 

At the culmination of the attack there are commonly 
present many accessory evidences of the effort with 
which the patient, in a mortal panic, has escaped; such 
are, an outbreak of cold sweat, convulsive palpitation 
of the heart, singing in the ears, sense of pressure about 
the forehead, a terror - stricken countenance. Many 
writers, including Bond, 1 Waller, 2 Motet 8 and Fos- 

1 Bond. See quotation above. 
2 Waller, op. cit. p. 55. Motet, loc. cit. 


gate, 1 lay especial stress on the exhaustion and malaise 
that immediately follow. Throughout the next day it is 
common for the patient still to suffer from malaise, heavi- 
ness, depression, dread, lack of confidence, pains in the 
head and weakness in the lower extremities. In cases of 
recurrent attacks the dread of the coming night maybe so 
great that the patient avoids going to bed, and sometimes 
spends night after night in a chair. Bond 2 relates the case 
of a gentleman who was bled and purged by way of 
treatment until he was too weak to endure more. 'He, 
therefore, was obliged to sleep in a chair all night, to 
avoid Night-mare. But one night he ventured to bed, and 
was found half dead in the morning. He continued para- 
lytic for two years; and after taking the round of Bath 
and Bristol to no purpose, he died an Idiot/ The signs 
that indicate to the patient that he is in danger of the 
attack recurring are well narrated by Waller 3 as 'a weight 
and great uneasiness about the heart, requiring often a 
sudden and full inspiration of the lungs. If I sit down to 
read I find my thoughts involuntarily carried away to 
distant scenes, and that I am in reality dreaming, from 
which state I am only aroused by a sense of something 
like suffocation, the unpleasant sensation before men- 
tioned about the heart. I am relieved for the moment 
by a sudden and strong inspiration or by walking it off, 
but there is present a strong inclination to sleep, which 
if followed inevitably results in Incubus/ 

Though the agonizing struggle usually subsides very 
soon after waking, it is not rare for the attack to con- 
tinue for some time in spite of clear consciousness. In 
the second quotation from Macnish given above there is 
a graphic description of this, and it may further be illus- 
trated by the following sketch drawn by Waller 4 : The 
uneasiness of the patient in his dream rapidly increases, 
till it ends in a kind of consciousness that he is in bed, 
and asleep; but he feels to be oppressed with some 

1 B. Fosgate, 'Observations on Nightmare 1 , American Journal of the Medical 
Sciences, 1834, vol. xv. p. 81. * Bond, op. cit. p. 65. 

8 Waller, op. cit. pp. 56, 57. * Waller, op. cit. pp. 22, 23. 


weight which confines him upon his back, and prevents 
his breathing, which is now become extremely laborious, 
so that the lungs cannot be fully inflated by any effort 
he can make. The sensation is now the most painful that 
can be conceived; the person becomes every instant more 
awake and conscious of his situation: he makes violent 
efforts to move his limbs, especially his arms, with a view 
of throwing off the incumbent weight, but not a muscle 
will obey the impulse of the will: he groans aloud, if he 
has strength to do it, while every effort he makes seems 
to exhaust the little remaining vigour. The difficulty of 
breathing goes on increasing, so that every breath he 
draws, seems to be almost the last that he is likely to 
draw; the heart generally moves with increased velocity, 
sometimes is affected with palpitation; the countenance 
appears ghastly, and the eyes are half open. The patient, 
if left to himself, lies in this state generally about a 
minute or two, when he recovers all at once the power 
of volition/ 

We have now to consider a few points concerning the 
circumstances under which the attack takes place. Some 
writers, such as Cubasch, 1 Waller, 2 etc., emphatically 
maintain that it can arise only during sleep, and indeed 
only during exceptionally deep sleep. We saw above that 
Darwin made this the basis of his explanation of the 
condition. There can be no doubt, however, that attacks 
in every way indistinguishable from the classical Night- 
mare not only may occur but may run their whole course 
during the waking state. Rousset's thesis is based mainly 
on the study of such an attack, which he rightly con- 
siders 3 to be of the same nature as the ordinary Night- 
mare. Macnish, in relating a self-observation, 4 says: The 
more awake we are, the greater is the violence of the 
paroxysm. I have experienced the affection stealing 
upon me while in perfect possession of my faculties, and 
have undergone the greatest tortures, being haunted by 

1 Cubasch, op. cit. S. 7, 9. 2 Waller, op. cit. p. 21. 

8 Csar Rousset, Contribution A Vltude du cauchemar, 1876, p. 24. 
4 Macnish, op. cit. p. 132. 


specters, hags, and every sort of phantom having, at 
the same time, a full consciousness that I was labouring 
under incubus, and that all the terrifying objects around 
me were the creation of my own brain/ In another place 1 
he devotes a chapter to this condition, which he desig- 
nates 'Daymare'; Still, 2 using a kindred term, has given 
an excellent description of a similar condition in children. 
It is however probable, as was long ago indicated by 
Fosgate, 3 that it is chiefly or perhaps exclusively recur- 
rent attacks, of the nature of a relapse, that occur during 
the waking state, and that a person who for some time 
has been free from the malady will be again attacked 
only during sleep. 

The most likely times for Nightmare to appear are 
either within the first two or three hours of sleep, or else 
in the morning in the torpid state that so often super- 
venes after an over-long or over-deep sleep. Motet 4 and 
Pfaff 5 state that it generally occurs in the first half of 
the night; Waller 6 says that it is almost always produced 
by sleeping too long, frequently by sleeping too soon, 
and that in his own case indulging in sleep too late in the 
morning is an almost certain method of bringing on an 
attack. I have noticed that the attack tends to recur at 
about the same time in the same subject, and have the 
impression that it more frequently appears in the early 
part of the night than in the morning. Macnish 7 states 
that dreams of all kinds occur more frequently in the 
morning than in the early part of the night, but this is 
a kind of fact that is not easily established and more 
modern observations lend it but little support. 

It has always been a generally accepted opinion that 
Nightmare is more likely to attack a person who is sleep- 
ing on his back, and this view is strongly maintained by, 

1 Macnish. op. cit. ch. vi. p. 142 et seq. 

2 G. F. Still, 'Day Terrors (Pavor diurnus) in Children', Lancet, Feb. 3, 1900, 
p. 292. 

8 Fosgate, loc. cit. 

4 Motet, loc. cit. 

6 E. R. Pfaff, Das Traumleben und seine Deutung, 1873, S. 37. 

6 Waller, op. cit. p. no, 

7 Macnish, op. cit. p. 47. 


among others, Burton, 1 Lower,* Bond, 8 Macnish 4 and 
Rousset. 8 To avoid the supine posture in sleep has com- 
monly been a therapeutic recommendation, and we shall 
presently see that the observation has been made to 
play an important part in several hypotheses concerning 
the malady. On the other hand Fosgate 6 and Hammond 7 
find the posture assumed in sleep to be of little import- 
ance in relation to the onset of Nightmare, and Splitt- 
gerber 8 modified the usual view by saying the attack 
generally occurs in persons lying either on the back or 
on the left side. Waller 9 has pointed out that, on account 
of the feeling in the chest as of some weight pressing him 
down, the sufferer is often deceived about his original 
position, especially as during his struggle he tends in 
any case to assume the supine posture. Boerner 10 and 
Cubasch 11 consider even that the prone posture is com- 
moner in attacks than is the supine. In my experience 
the supine posture is decidedly the more frequent of the 
two, as is generally believed. I have never known of an 
instance of true Nightmare occurring when the patient 
was in a lateral position, though presumably in very ex- 
ceptional cases this may be so, for Macnish 12 has given 
clear accounts of attacks that he has suffered in every 
position, even when sitting in a chair. 

We now come to the vexed problem of the patho- 
genesis of the malady, and the temptation is great to 
follow the example of Cubasch, 13 who avoids discussion 
of previous opinions by saying: 'Ich iibergehe die ver- 
schiedenen Erklarungen, die von medicinischer Seite aus 
versucht wurden, die sich aber alle nicht beweisen lassen, 
oft sogar geradezu unmoglich sind/ ('I pass by the 

Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), 1826 ed., pp, 134, 434. 

R. Lower, Tractatus de Corde, 1669, p. 145. 

Bond, op. cit. pp. 71, 74, etc. 

Macnish, op. cit. pp. 139, 272. 6 Rousset, op. cit. p. 41. 

Fosgate, loc. cit. 7 Hammond, op. cit. p. 186. 

F. Splittgerber, Schlaf und Tod, 1866, S. 166. 

Waller, op. cit. pp. 73, 74. 

10 J. Boerner, Das Alpdrucken, seine Begriindung und Verhutung, 1855, S. 8, 
9, 27. 

11 Cubasch, op. cit. S. 22. 

12 Macnish, op. cit. p. 128. u Cubasch, op. cit. S. 17. 


various medical explanations that have been proffered, 
since they are all unproven and often even absolutely 
impossible/) The criticism passed on medical views of 
Nightmare by Waller, 1 that 'in all probability every one 
of them is wrong, so that it can be of little utility to 
inquire into them', would be as true to-day as when it 
was written nearly a century ago if it were not for the 
epoch-making work of one man Professor Freud on 
the psychogenesis of dreams and the relation of them to 
the neuroses. 

It would be a laborious and certainly unprofitable task 
to review most of the hypotheses on the subject that at 
various times have been put forth, and the only reason 
why some of the chief ones will be enumerated is that 
in my opinion there is a kernel of truth in all of them, 
however widely they may at first sight seem to diverge 
from the view here to be sustained. As a preliminary re- 
mark one may say that, from the very multiplicity and 
protean nature of the 'causes' to which the malady has 
been attributed ranging from an elongated uvula 2 to 
the ingestion of West Indian alligator pears, 3 which is 
said to be an infallible recipe for the production of 
a Nightmare the prediction might be ventured that 
writers have in general mistaken for the true cause of 
the malady factors that play a part, of varying import- 
ance, in the evocation of a given attack. In other words 
there is an a priori probability that there is an under- 
lying abnormal condition, which may be regarded as the 
predisposition to the affection, and that there is a large 
number of superficial factors which may be concerned in 
eliciting the manifestations that we call attacks of Night- 
mare. It has previously been held that this predisposi- 
tion is of relatively slight importance in comparison with 
what may be termed the exciting causes just as we 
commonly regard it to be with such diseases as scarlet 
fever, where our attention is focussed on the external 

1 Waller, op. cit. p. 69. 

8 J. H. Rauch, Case of Nightmare caused by elongation of the uvula', 
American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 1852, N.S., vol. xxiii. p. 435. 
8 Waller, op. cit. p. 105. 


factor so that for instance Waller 1 could state that the 
malady will attack any person whatever, provided he 
gets indigestion. On the contrary, the view here main- 
tained is that the predisposition is of cardinal import- 
ance, and that when this is developed to a pronounced 
extent an attack of Nightmare can be elicited by the most 
insignificant external factor or may occur even in the 
absence of any external factor whatever. Attention there- 
fore will here be concentrated on the nature and patho- 
geny of the predisposition, though something will also 
be said on the subject of the connection between this 
predisposition and the external exciting factors to which 
previous writers have attributed so much significance. 
Of the eight principal systems of the body four have 
almost always been selected as being the ones incrimin- 
ated in the production of Nightmare: the alimentary, 
the respiratory, the circulatory and the nervous. Many 
of the hypotheses emitted are now of only historical in- 
terest and need be no more than mentioned; such are for 
instance Lower's 2 view that the condition is due to a 
collection of lymph in the fourth ventricle of the brain, 
Willis' 3 that incongruous matter from the blood mixes 
with the nervous fluid in the cerebellum, Fosgate's 4 that 
it is an affection of the anterior column of the spinal 
marrow and the nerves arising therefrom, Bailey's 5 that 
it is a distemper caused by undigested humours stopping 
the passage of the animal spirits, so that the body cannot 
move, Hohnbaum's 6 that it is produced by poisonous 
gases or miasmata, Splittgerber's 7 that it occurs at cer- 
tain phases of the moon, and Baillarger's 8 that it is due 
to primary congestion of the brain. Boschulte's 9 curious 

1 Waller, op. cit. p. 64. 2 Lower, loc. cit. 

8 T, Willis, De anima brutorum, 1672, Cap. 6. p. 127. 

4 Fosgate, op. cit. p. 83. 

5 N. Bailey, English Dictionary, 1789. Art. 'Nightmare'. 

6 Hohnbaum, Psychische Gesundheit und Irresein in ihren Vbergdngen, 1845, 
S. 38, 41. 7 Splittgerber, loc. cit. 

8 J. Baillarger, 'De 1'influence de Tdtat intermdiare a la veille et au sommeil 
sur la production et la marche des hallucinations', M6m. de I'Acad. roy. de Md. t 
1846, t. xii. p. 476. 

9 Boschulte, 'Erne Mittheilung liber Alpdriicken', R. Virchow's Arch. f. 
pathohgische Anatomie und Physiologie, 1881, Bd. Ixxxv. S. 371. 


hypothesis, although of comparatively recent date, must 
also be classed in the same group. He writes: ( Wir sehen 
also durch Stockung in den peripherischen Gefassen 
einen Druck auf die peripherischen Theile der Empfin- 
dungsnerven veranlasst, dadurch aber, vermoge des me- 
chanisch-chemisch-physikalischen Prozesses, die Emp- 
fmdungen zwar parasthetisch erregt, aber in einem 
Theile des Centralnervensystems oder des Reflex-ap- 
parats die gebundene motorische Kraft nicht wirksam 
genug afficirt, wahrend darauf der Reiz des Schellentons, 
in seiner proportionalen Starke wirkend auf die speci- 
fische Energie des Gehornerven, jene bis zum volligen 
Erwachen entfesselt/ ('We thus see how stagnation in 
the peripheral vessels sets up a pressure on the peri- 
pheral segments of the sensory nerves of such a kind 
that, although sensations are, by means of the mechani- 
cal, chemical and physical process, paraesthetically 
aroused, the motor power bound in some part of the 
central nervous system or the reflex apparatus does not 
adequately function; whereupon the stimulation of vi- 
bratory tones, working on the specific energy of the 
auditory nerves in proportion to its strength, thunder- 
ously arouses them to the point of awakening/) The 
only modern writer who makes the nervous system re- 
sponsible for the primary change is Rousset. 1 He attri- 
butes the malady to an active congestion of the brain, 
brought about by fearful or excitable ideas of the pre- 
ceding evening. 

The earliest, and still the most popular, medical hypo- 
thesis of the origin of Nightmare was that it arose from 
gastric disturbances. This view was originally brought 
forward by Galen, 2 was elaborated by Paulus Aegineta 3 
and is given as the orthodox medical one in the latest 
editions of Chambers's Encyclopedia^ and of the Im- 
perial Dictionary , 6 where full accounts of it may be 

Rousset, op. cit. pp. 36, 37. 

Galen, Comment, ad aph. Hipp., Ed. Kiihn, xvii. 2, S. 628 u. 747. 

Paulus Aegineta, loc. cit. 

Chambers's Encyclopedia, 1902, vol. iv. p. 89. 

Imperial Dictionary of the English Language, 1883, vol. iii. p. 260. 


found. Practically all writers accept it, but so far as I am 
aware the only one who does so quite empirically is Binz, 1 
all others adding some hypothesis concerning the mode 
of operation of the gastric disorder. As we shall presently 
see, there is a certain amount of truth in the empirical 
observation, but the commonly accepted hypotheses 
have little relation to what probably is the actual ex- 
planation of it. Two explanations have been offered, (i) 
that an over-full stomach presses on the diaphragm and 
thus mechanically impedes the circulation through the 
heart and lungs, and (2) that the presence of undigested 
food in the stomach acts as a peripheral source of irrita- 
tion to the nervous system. That the former of these 
views, which has been maintained by Paulus Aegineta, 2 
Bond, 8 Burton, 4 Floyer, 6 Macnish, 6 Hodgkin, 7 Scholz, 8 
Hammond, 9 Herbert Spencer, 10 Motet 11 and many others, 
is not the inclusive explanation it is often supposed to be 
was very convincingly demonstrated by Waller's 12 self- 
observations. He says: 'I religiously abstained, for many 
years, from eating anything after dinner, and took din- 
ner also at as early an hour as two o'clock. It was during 
this period that I suffered most from the disease/ No 
one can accuse Waller, therefore, of not having put the 
over-full stomach hypothesis to adequate experimental 
proof, and he is unequivocal about the results of his 
investigation. Both Macnish and Hodgkin strongly 
maintain the improbability of a full stomach interfering 
with the action of the heart to such an extent as seriously 
to embarrass the circulation, though they hold that it 
acts by mechanically impeding the respiration; accord- 
ing to Macnish the stomach causes pressure on the 

1 C. Binz, Vber den Traum, 1878, S. 28. 2 Paulus Aegineta, loc. cit. 

Bond. op. cit. p. 51. 

Burton, op. cit. vol. i. Pt. 2, Sec. 2, Mem. 5, p. 434. 

Sir James Floyer, quoted by Latham, A Dictionary of the English Language, 
1882, vol. i. p. 1240. 

Macnish, op. cit. p. 134. 7 Hodgkin, loc. cit. 

F. Scholz, Schlafund Traum, 1887, S. 30. 
Hammond, op. cit. pp. 185, 187. 

10 Herbert Spencer, Principles of Sociology, 1885, vol. i. p. 133. 

11 Motet, loc. cit. 

18 Waller, op. cit. pp. n, 70, 75. 


diaphragm and torpor of the intercostal muscles, with 
consequent hindering of the pulmonary circulation. 

The second explanation, which has been maintained 
by Paulus Aegineta, 1 Waller, 2 Barclay, 3 Splittgerber, 4 
Radestock, 6 Chambers 6 and Maudsley, 7 is to the effect 
that indigestible or undigested food in the stomach acts 
by producing irritating afferent impulses, which on 
reaching the brain are transformed into feelings of terror. 
Strahl 8 describes the afferent impulses as being not of a 
nervous nature but as consisting of stomach gases which 
are carried to the brain and disturb its repose. The pre- 
cise kind of indigestible food that is most efficacious in 
this connection is often described, for instance by Wal- 
ler, 9 with a fulness of detail that betokens a confidence 
of belief only too incommensurate with the value of the 
evidence on which it is founded. It is plain that this 
explanation is even harder to sustain than the last, for 
at the best it is obvious that there are gaps of consider- 
able extent in the description of the mode of action of 
the morbid process. 

Distension of the stomach is not the only way in which 
the circulation has been supposed to get embarrassed. 
Striimpell, 10 Radestock 11 and others have attributed to a 
similar mechanism the frequency of Nightmares in cases 
of heart disease. Albers 12 holds that 'determination of the 
blood to the chest', from whatever source, is the essential 
cause of Nightmare. A constrained posture has frequently 
been invoked as the active agent in bringing about this 
state of embarrassment, for instance by Hammond, 13 
Radestock 14 and Scholz 15 ; Radestock holds that the 

Paulus Aegineta, loc. cit. 8 Waller, op. cit. pp. 65, 75, 96, 98. 

J.Barclay, Universal English Dictionary. Re vised by Wood ward, 1851^.564. 

Splittgerber, loc. cit. 

Radestock, op. cit. S. 129. * Chambers 's Encyclopedia, loc. cit. 

H. Maudsley, The Pathology of Mind, 1879, p. 32. 

Strahl, Der Alp, sein Wesen und seine Heilung, 1833. 

Waller, op. cit. pp. 105, 106, 109. 

10 L. H, Striimpell, Die Natur und Entstehung der Trdume, 1874, S. 116. 

11 Radestock, op. cit. S. 130. 

ia Albers, quoted by Ernst von Feuchtersleben, 'The Principles of Medical 
Psychology', Sydenham Transactions, 1847, p. 198. 
18 Hammond, op. cit. p. 186. 
14 Radestock, op. cit. S. 118, 125. l5 Scholz, loc. cit. 



abnormal posture causes embarrassment of the heart 
directly, Hammond and Scholz that it does so only by 
impeding the circulation. Kant 1 formulated the remark- 
able opinion that Nightmare was a beneficent process 
the function of which was to wake the individual and so 
warn him of the danger to which he was exposed from 
the effect of the constrained posture of his circulation. 
As we shall presently learn, Freud also sees a teleo- 
logical function, though of a vastly different kind, in the 
waking from Nightmare. 

The supine posture even, normal and unconstrained, 
has been incriminated by some writers as the efficient 
agent in the production of Nightmare. This view was 
greatly elaborated by Bond, 2 who founded on the basis 
of it a most complicated hypothesis concerning the 
mechanism of the circulation, and ascribed all sorts of 
harmful results to the dangerous practice of lying on the 
back. He asks, 3 as Kant did, 'Are not these monstrous 
dreams intended as a stimulus to rouse the sentient 
principle in us, that we might alter the position of the 
body, and by that means avoid the approaching danger?' 
Splittgerber 4 and Rousset 5 also consider the supine 
position is in itself harmful, though the latter ascribes 
to it only a predisposing role in that it sets up a passive 
congestion of the brain which allows active congestion 
to supervene and originate the attack. Waller, 6 on the 
other hand, held that the importance of posture as a 
cause of embarrassment of respiration or of the circula- 
tion had been greatly overestimated, on the ground that 
he personally had repeatedly suffered from Nightmare 
in every position, even when sleeping with his head 
leaning forwards on a table. 

Of late years there has been a reaction against the 
views that placed in the foreground the circulatory 
troubles, and that culminated in Maury's 7 work, where 
the varying state of the cerebral circulation was made to 

1 I. Kant, Anthropologie, 1798, Sec. 34, S. 105. * Bond, op. cit. ch. ii. 

3 Bond, op. cit. p. 23. 4 Splittgerber, loc. cit. 

5 Rousset, op. cit. pp. 38, 39. Waller, op. cit. p. 69. 

7 L. F. A. Maury, Le sommeil et les r&ves, 1865. 


account for most of the phenomena of sleep and dreams. 
As the result mainly of the work of Boerner, 1 attention 
has been more and more concentrated on the respiratory 
embarrassment as a chief factor in the production of 
Nightmare. Although the respiratory symptoms had long 
been noticed they had generally been thought, in the 
way expounded for instance by Rousset, 2 to be second- 
ary to the circulatory disturbance. Gradually, however, 
it was recognized that this might be produced by a 
primary respiratory trouble, as mentioned by Rade- 
stock 3 in the case of asthma, and Cubasch 4 indeed holds 
that with Nightmare this is invariably so. Binz, 5 follow- 
ing Boerner, has developed what he calls a toxic theory 
of Nightmare, which he attributes to the poisoning of 
the brain by carbon dioxide. Prout 6 also takes this 
position, and explains the frequency with which Night- 
mare occurs at midnight by the fact, he declares to have 
established, that the percentage of carbon dioxide in the 
blood is greatest at that time. 

According to these observers, then, gastric disturb- 
ances would play only a very subsidiary role, and the 
views of Scholz, 7 that Nightmare always arises from a 
disorder of either the respiratory or circulatory systems, 
or of Motet, 8 who gives a long list of 'causes' which, 
however, he says all act by impeding the circulation and 
giving a supply of bad blood to the brain, fairly repre- 
sent a large number of writers on the subject. 

In this brief review of the different hypotheses we 
thus see that they fall fairly distinctly into two groups. 
On the one hand sources of peripheral irritation, which 
consist almost exclusively of various indigestible foods, 
are made to play the chief part in the production of the 
malady; on the other various mechanical sources of 
embarrassment to the circulation and respiration, prin- 
cipally a distended stomach and a constrained posture, 

1 Boerner, op. cit. 2 Rousset, op. cit. p. 37. 

8 Radestock, op. cit. S. 130. 4 Cubasch, op. cit. S. 17, 18. 

6 Binz, op. cit. S. 27, 28. 

6 Prout, cited by Radestock, op. cit. S. 129. 

7 Scholz, op. cit. S. 27. 8 Motet, loc. cit. 


are asserted to be the efficient agents and to act by 
bringing about a supply to the brain of non-aerated 

So far as I am aware, the first writer to point out the 
insufficiencies of these physical factors was Moreau 1 of 
Tours. He laid such stress on the psychological side of 
the problem as to call forth from Rousset 2 the shocked 
protest: 'II admet bien une excitation comme point de 
depart des troubles psychiques, mais avec tant de re- 
serve, qu'on se demande si, reellement, il fait intervenir 
le systeme circulatoire dans la production des desordres 
c6rlbraux/ The heresy of Moreau was, however, soon 
surpassed by that of Splittgerber, 3 who not only ex- 
pressed dissatisfaction with the adequacy of the physical 
explanations but went on to trace the origin of the 
mental distress in Nightmare to hidden tendencies in the 
mind and the agonies of an evil conscience, thus lightly 
foreshadowing the modern psychological view of the 
malady. Before discussing these matters he says in re- 
ference to the physical explanations: 'Es fiihren uns aber 
gerade diese letzten Bemerkungen von selbst darauf, 
dass wir nun auch noch den eigentlichen und tiefsten 
Grund aller Verwirrung des Seelenlebens im Traum auf- 
decken; denn alle turbirende Einwirkung auf die in sich 
selbst zuriickgezogene Seele von aussen her, sei es dass 
sie von der weiteren Aussenwelt oder von dem sie enger 
umschliessenden korperlichen Organismus herriihrt, 
reicht doch nicht hin, um die Turba des Traumlebens 
iiberhaupt nach ihrer ganzen Tiefe und Ausdehnung zu 
erklaren. Oder woher kommt es denn, dass in den phan- 
tastischen Gebilden des Traums gerade so wie in unserm 
wirklichen Leben mehr Angstlichkeit als Heiterkeit des 
Gemiiths, mehr Unfriede als Friede des Gewissens, mehr 
Unreinheit als Keuschheit des Herzens, mehr Sorge als 
kindliches Gottvertrauen heimisch sind?' ('These last re- 
marks, however, lead us to discover the real and deepest 

1 J. J. Moreau, 'De I'identit6 de l'6tat de rve et de la folie', Annales 
mdico-psychologique$, 1855, p. 361. 

8 Rousset, op. cit. p. 13. 8 Splittgerber, op. cit. S. 170. 


cause of all disturbance of mental life that takes place 
in dreams; for none of the external interferences acting 
on the mind withdrawn into itself, whether they pro- 
ceed from the distant outer world or from the bodily 
organism that encloses it more nearly, is adequate to 
explain the turmoil of dream life in its whole depth and 
extent. Or else whence comes it that in the phantastic 
imagery of our dreams, just as in our waking life, 
anxiety is more at home than joyousness of spirit, un- 
easiness than peace of mind, impurity than chastity of 
heart, care than childlike trust in God?') 

This penetrating query of Splittgerber's well reveals 
the wide gap between the agents operative according to 
the physical explanations and the predominating features 
actually observed in the attack. In reality, to regard the 
discovery of any conceivable modification of the quantity 
or quality of the cerebral circulation as a satisfactory 
and final explanation of such a phenomenon as a sudden 
and mortal dread of some assaulting monster displays 
such a divergence from the principles of psycho-physi- 
ology as to leave no common ground on which the sub- 
ject can be discussed. 

We need not further consider, however, a priori prob- 
abilities, for on the purely observational side we find 
that what at once strikes anyone who begins to study 
the malady uninfluenced by previous views is the singu- 
lar lack of .correlation between the alleged causes and the 
actual attacks. In other words, the most damaging criti- 
cism of all the hypotheses mentioned above is the simple 
observation of the frequency with which on the one hand 
the alleged factors occur without being followed by 
Nightmare, and with which on the other hand given 
attacks of Nightmare occur without having been pre- 
ceded by any of the alleged factors. Let us take any one 
of them as an example, for instance gastric disorders. As 
a plain fact it may be observed that only a minority of 
individuals who suffer with Nightmare also suffer from 
gastric troubles, while on the other hand the percentage 
of patients with gastric ulcer, carcinoma ventriculi, or any 


other form of gastric disorder except possibly the so- 
called nervous dyspepsia that is found in patients suffer- 
ing from Angst neurosis who are subject to Nightmare 
is correspondingly small. Take again the question of pos- 
ture; is there the slightest reason to believe either that 
the sufferers from Nightmare are peculiarly apt to sleep 
in constrained attitudes, or that their cerebral circula- 
tion is specially liable to be disorganized by the adoption 
of a supine posture? As to the over-full stomach hypo- 
thesis, how many patients who dread the Nightmare, or 
for the matter of that, how many other people, so dis- 
tend their stomachs just before retiring to rest as to set 
up an embarrassment of the heart and lungs enough to 
cause acute poisoning with the carbon dioxide of non- 
aerated blood? On the other hand, healthy individuals 
who are in reality thus poisoned or who are suffocated 
in any kind of way, from immersion under water, from 
the choke-damp of colliery explosions or from the leak 
of a gas stove, may pass through various distressing ex- 
periences and may suffer from many mental symptoms, 
but they hardly ever undergo an attack at all resembling 
that of Nightmare. 

Any sceptical inquiry, therefore, immediately reveals 
two facts. First, that all the alleged causes of Nightmare 
often occur, both alone and in combination, in persons 
who never show any symptom of Nightmare; a patient 
whose stomach is half destroyed with cancer may com- 
mit all sorts of dietary indiscretions, including even in- 
dulgence in cucumber the article of food that is most 
looked askance at in relation to Nightmare he may 
even sleep on his back, and still will defy medical ortho- 
doxy in not suffering from any trace of Nightmare. 
Secondly, that a habitual sufferer from Nightmare may 
be scrupulously rigorous in regard to both the quality 
and quantity of all that he eats, may in fact develop a 
maladie de scrupule in this direction, that he may martyr 
himself with elaborate precautions to avoid these and 
other 'causes' of the malady, and by means of a con- 
trivance of spikes ensure against ever lying let alone 


sleeping on his back, but despite all his endeavours he 
will have to endure as many and as severe attacks as 

Thus, apart from any theoretical considerations, 
purely empiric observation compels the conclusion that 
any part played by the factors we have mentioned above 
must be an exceedingly subordinate one, and that what 
we have called the predisposition of the individual must 
be a factor of overwhelming importance. My own ex- 
perience has convinced me that in individuals healthy 
in a certain respect presently to be defined it is impos- 
sible by any physical or mental agent to evoke any state 
resembling that of Nightmare, while in other individuals 
unhealthy in this respect nothing will prevent the re- 
currence from time to time of Nightmare attacks, and 
further that these can be elicited in them by the most 
insignificant of morbid incidents. 

This is the reason why all attempts to base on experi- 
mental evidence the physical hypotheses concerning 
Nightmare have had to be carried out on persons who 
habitually suffered from the malady; such are, for ex- 
ample, the oft-quoted experiments of Boerner, 1 who 
succeeded in evoking Nightmares by covering the nasal 
passages and otherwise obstructing the breathing of 
sleeping individuals, and of Radcliffe, 2 Hoffmann, 3 
Macnish 4 and Waller, 5 all of whom employed various 
ill-digestible articles of diet. Such methods notoriously 
fail when applied to individuals who are not already 
subject to Nightmare. 

It is therefore evident that some quite different stand- 
point is needed from which the problem, and especially 
the question of predisposition, can be attacked anew. 
This, it seems to me, is best obtained by considering the 
phenomena themselves in a more direct and less theo- 
rizing way than before. 

1 Boerner, op. cit. 

a A. Radciiffe, cited by H. Spitta, Die Schlaf- und Traumzustdnde der 
menschlichen Seele> 1882, S. 237. 

8 E. Th. Hoffmann, cited by Spitta, op. cit. S. 238. 

4 Macnish, op. cit. p. 133. 5 Waller, op. cit. pp. 105, 106, 109. 


Looked at quite simply, the prominent manifestations 
of Nightmare are seen to be an overmastering dread and 
terror of some external oppression against which all the 
energies of the mind appear vainly to be fighting. They 
are thus pre-eminently mental manifestations, the cen- 
tral one being a morbidly acute feeling of Angst. We have 
therefore to enquire into the nature and origin of this 
emotion in general. 

It may at once be said that Angst, when developed to 
anything approaching the morbid extent present in 
Nightmare, is altogether a pathological phenomenon, 
and in fact forms the cardinal feature of the well-defined 
malady known as Angst neurosis. It is interesting to note 
in this connection that many years ago Sauvages 1 and 
Sagar 2 pointed out the kinship of Nightmare and what 
was then called panophobia (an important clinical type 
of Angst neurosis). Long prior even to this, Burton, 8 in 
his discursion of Symptomes of Maids, Nuns, and Widows' 
Melancholy had given an excellent description of Angst 
neurosis and had remarked 'from hence proceed . . . 
terrible dreams in the night'. He further pointed out 
that the symptoms were cured by marriage, an observa- 
tion which in a modified sense contains a considerable 
nucleus of truth. 

Many hypotheses have at different times been framed 
concerning the nature of Angst; thus Arndt 4 attributed 
it to an abnormal functioning of the heart, Wille 5 to 
irritation of the brain centres, Roller 6 to irritation of the 
medulla oblongata, Krafft-Ebing 7 to cramp of the car- 
diac arteries, and Meynert 8 to impoverishment of the 
cortex induced by the vascular contraction following on 
stimulation of the cortical vasomotor centres. The sub- 

1 F. Boissier de Sauvages de la Croix, Synopsis nosologiae methodicae, 1763, 
vol. iii. p. 337. 

J. B. M. Sagar, Sy sterna morborum symptomaticum, 1776, vol. ii. p. 520. 

Burton, op. cit. vol. i. Pt. i. Sec. 3, Mem. 2, Subsect. IV. p. 302. 

Arndt, Wille, Roller, R. Krafft-Ebing, cited by Th. Puschmann, Handb. der 
Geschichte der Medizin., Bd. iii., 1905, S. 717. 

Ibid. Ibid. i Ibid. 

Th. Meynert, Psychiatrie, 'Klinik der Erkrankungen des Vorderhirns', 


ject, however, remained in total obscurity until Freud 1 
published his now classical papers on Angst neurosis, in 
which he established the nosological independence of the 
affection and stated his conclusions on its nature and 
aetiology. In these papers he pointed out how important 
a part is played in the generation of this malady by 
various abnormalities in the functioning of the sexual 
activities of the individual. The association in general 
between the sexual instinct and the emotions of fear 
and dread is a very intimate 2 one; it is, however, im- 
possible here to enter into a discussion of the exact 
relationships of the two, the more so as it is proposed 
later to deal fully with the subject in another paper. 3 
Suffice it to say that the type of emotion designated 
as Angst is in general closely connected with sexual 
emotion, and in particular with pathological 'repression' 
of it or with unsatisfactory functioning of what may 
broadly be called the psycho-sexual system of activities. 
vSince Freud's writings it has gradually become recog- 
nized how important is this factor in the production of 
Angst neurosis. Stekel 4 has recently published an im- 
pressive array of evidence in support of this view, and 
to anyone with any experience in the psycho-analytic 
method of psychotherapy the remark is a mere truism. 
The same conclusion has also been reached along 
other routes by workers, such as Strohmayer, 5 Warda, 6 

1 Sigm. Freud, 't)ber die Berechtigung, von der Neurasthenic einen bestimm- 
ten Symptomenkomplex als "Angstneurose" abzutrennen', Neurolog. Centralbl., 
1895, S. 50. 'Zur Kritik der "Angstneurose" ', Wiener klinische Rundschau, 
1895, A translation of both papers is reprinted in Freud's Collected Papers, 1924, 
vol. i. p. 76. 

8 [When this essay was first published (1909) the shocked printer changed 
this word to 'distant', and, in spite of my correcting it in the proof, saw to it 
that 'distant* was the word that appeared on publication.] 

8 'The Pathology of Morbid Anxiety', Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1911, 
vol. vi., reprinted in my 'Papers on Psycho- Analysis'. 

4 W. Stekel, Nervose Angstzustdnde und ihre Behandlung, 1908. 

6 W. Strohmayer, 'Zur Characteristik der Zwangsvorstellungen als "Ab- 
wehrneurose" ', Centralbl, f. Nervenheilk. u. Psychiatr., 15 Mai, 1903, Bd. xxvi., 
and 'Uber die urs&chlichen Beziehungen der Sexualitat zu Angst- und Zwangs- 
zustanden', Journ. f. PsychoL u. Neur. t Dez., 1908, Bd. xii. S. 69. 

6 W. Warda, 't)ber Zwangsvorstellungspsychosen', Monatsschr. /. Psychiatr. 
u. Neur., 1902, Bd. xii. S. i, and 'Zur Pathologic und Therapie der Zwangs- 
neurose', Monatsschr. /. Psychiatr. w. Neur. t 1907, Bd. xxii. Erg&nzungsheft, 
S. 149. 


Loewenfeld 1 and many others, who do not perform 

A word must here be said about the modern psycho- 
logical theory of dreams, which we also owe entirely to 
Freud. 2 Detailed analysis of many thousand dreams, per- 
formed by his free association method, convinced Freud 
that, without exception, every dream represents the ful- 
filment in the imagination of some desire on the part of 
the patient, a desire that has either been 'repressed' in 
the waking state or else could not for some reason or 
other come to expression. In most of the dreams of 
adults, where the dream appears on the surface to con- 
tain no evidence of any desire, the operative desire is one 
that is unacceptable to the subject's consciousness and 
has therefore been 'repressed'. This repressed desire can 
now be allowed to attain imaginary gratification only 
when it is not recognizable by the subject, so that it 
appears in another form by becoming distorted, per- 
verted and disguised. The mechanisms by means of 
which this concealment of the original desire takes place 
have been formulated into precise laws by Freud, and 
of course cannot here be even enumerated. This exceed- 
ingly epitomized statement of the theory, however, will 
perhaps serve to indicate the outstanding fact that in 
most cases the dream as related by the subject bears 
superficially no likeness to the mental processes to which 
it owes its origin. One or two corollaries also may be 
mentioned. It is a general law that the more intense is 
the 'repression', in other words the greater is the conflict 
between the repressed desire and the conscious mind, 
the more distorted will be the dream that represents the 
fulfilment of that desire, and the less recognizable and 
likely will seem to the subject the interpretation of it. 
Broadly speaking, there is an inverse relationship be- 
tween the amount of distortion present in the ideas 
themselves (condensation, symbolism, etc.) and the 

1 L. Loewenfeld, Die psychischen Zwangserscheinungen, 1904, S. 470, and 
Sexualleben und Neryenleiden, 40 Aufl., 1906, S. 258 et seq. 

2 Sigm. Freud, Die Traumdeutung, 1900. 


amount of Angst present. Thus a repressed wish for a 
particular sexual experience may be represented in a 
dream by imagery which, though associatively connected 
with them in the unconscious, is very dissimilar in ap- 
pearance to the ideas of that experience: or, on the other 
hand, the ideas may appear in the dream, but accom- 
panied by such a strong emotion of dread that any 
notion of their representing a wish is completely con- 
cealed from consciousness. In practice one finds in fear 
dreams all admixtures of these two mechanisms, and it 
is instructive to observe how the analysis of either type 
leads to the same conclusions about the underlying con- 
tent of the dream. 

When the distortion of the wish-fulfilment is insuffi- 
cient to conceal from consciousness the nature of the 
repressed desire, in other words when the conflict is so 
great that no compromise can be arrived at, then the 
sleep is broken and the subject wakes to his danger. 1 
When the desire shows such vehemence as to threaten to 
overpower the repressing force exercised by conscious- 
ness, and at the same time is of such a nature as to be in 
the highest degree unacceptable, then we have present 
the conditions for the most violent mental conflict im- 
aginable. Conflict of this fierce intensity never arises 
except over matters of sexuality, for on the one hand the 
sexual instinct is the source of our most resistless desires 
and impulses, and on the other no feelings are repressed 
with such iron rigour as are certain of those that take 
their origin in this instinct. The mere dimly realized 
possibility of becoming against his will overmastered by 
a form of desire that the whole strength of the rest of his 
mind is endeavouring to resist is often sufficient to in- 
duce in a given person a state of panic-stricken terror. 
These intense conflicts never take place in consciousness, 
for if the desire is repressed it definitely passes out of 
consciousness, so that the subject is not aware of either 
the source or the nature of them. 

The subject raised by these reflexions is so extensive 

1 Sigm. Freud, Die Traumdeutung, 2e Aufl., 1909, S. 358. 


that it is only possible here to state, in what may appear 
an over-categorical way, a few conclusions, the evidence 
in support of which must be considered elsewhere. The 
considerations brought forward above, cursory as they 
are, may however serve to introduce the main thesis of 
this essay, namely that the malady known as Nightmare 
is always an expression of intense mental conflict centreing 
about some form of 'repressed' sexual desire. This conclu- 
sion, however, is probably true of all fear dreams, and we 
can carry it a step further in the particular Nightmare 
variety. In this dread reaches the maximum intensity 
known, in either waking or sleeping state, so that we 
should not be surprised if the source of it lies in the 
region of maximum 'repression', i.e. of maximum con- 
flict. There is no doubt that this concerns the incest 
trends of the sexual life, so that we may extend the 
formula just given and say: an attack of the Nightmare is 
an expression of a mental conflict over an incestuous desire. 

The definite proof of this conclusion is best obtained 
by the psycho-analysis of a number of cases. Those who 
have employed this method know that every case thus 
studied can be traced to repressed desire, and that the 
translation of this desire into consciousness is followed 
by permanent cessation of the malady. The object of 
this essay, however, is not to discuss psycho-analysis 
but to point out that in the conflict theory of Nightmare 
we have a view that better than any other is able to 
generalize the known facts of the condition. For this 
reason I shall confine my attention to the facts and ob- 
servations collected and recorded by writers who were 
uninfluenced by any inkling of the psychological theory, 
and shall attempt to show how harmoniously on this 
theory the diverging views and observations can be re- 

The view just advanced may at once be illustrated by 
considering the description of a case recorded by Bond 1 
a century and a half ago. 'A young Lady, of a tender, lax 
habit, about fifteen, before the Menses appeared, was 

1 Bond, op. cit. Case I. p. 47. 


seiz'd with a fit of this Disease, and groan' d so miserably 
that she awoke her Father, who was sleeping in the next 
room. He arose, ran into her chamber, and found her 
lying on her Back, and the Blood gushing plentifully 
out of her Mouth and Nose. When he shook her, she 
recover 'd and told him, that she thought some great 
heavy Man came to her bedside, and, without farther 
ceremony, stretched himself upon her. She had been 
heard moaning in sleep several nights before; but, the 
next day after she imagined herself oppress' d by that 
Man, she had a copious eruption of the Menses, w r hich, 
for that time, remov'd all her complaints/ 

The explanation of such an occurrence, put very 
simply, is that what the young lady both desired and 
dreaded actually came to pass in her imagination. The 
struggle between the two conflicting emotions was so 
intense, and her dread of the unacceptable desire so 
lively, that the resulting distress was correspondingly 
great. That erotic feeling is in most cases more ardent 
during the days preceding the catamenial period is of 
course well known, and may be illustrated by another 
case taken from the same author. 1 'A robust servant 
Girl, about eighteen years old, was severely oppress' d 
with the Nightmare, two or three nights before every 
eruption of the Menses, and used to groan so loudly as to 
awake her Fellow-servant, who always shook or turn'd 
her on her Side; by which means she recovered. She was 
thus afflicted periodically with it, 'till she took a bed- 
fellow of a different sex, and bore Children/ At a time 
when Nightmares were attributed to evil spirits Para- 
celsus 2 stated that the menstrual flux engendered phan- 
toms in the air and that therefore convents were semin- 
aries of Nightmares. 

The description of the attack may, however, not be 
so transpicuous as in these cases, especially when the 
'repression 1 is more energetic than it probably was there. 
The oppressing agent will then seem to be not a member 

1 Bond, op. cit. p. 49. 
a Paracelsus, quoted by J. Delassus, Les incubes et Us succubes, 1897, p, 49. 


of the opposite sex but some being having certain 
attributes thereof, e.g., strength, energy, determination, 
force. The individual then feels herself assailed by an 
embracing bear, a wolf, a monster, or even a vague 
indefinable 'something' that lies on her breast and pro- 
duces the oppression described above. 

It has long been recognized that even in the most 
terrifying Nightmares the Angst often has a distinctly 
traceable voluptuous character. This can of course be 
more readily observed by subjects capable of accurate 
introspection. More than a thousand years ago Paulus 
Aegineta 1 wrote: Tersons suffering an attack experience 
incapability of motion, a torpid sensation in their sleep, 
a sense of suffocation and oppression, as if from one 
pressing them down, with inability to cry out, or they 
utter inarticulate sounds. Some imagine often that they 
even hear the person who is going to press them down, 
that he offers lustfiil violence to them but flies when they 
attempt to grasp him with their fingers/ Waller 2 notes 
as a frequent symptom, Triapismus interdum vix tole- 
rabilis et aliquamdiu post paroxysmi solutionem per- 
sistens', and curiously attributes it 3 to engorgement of 
the pudic arteries caused by the palpitation of the heart. 
Loewenfeld 4 also remarks on seminal emissions as a 
feature of Angst dreams. Boerner 5 writes: 'Bisweilen ist 
mit dem Gefiihle der Angst das der Wollust gepaart, 
namentlich bei den Weibern, welche oft glauben, der 
Alp habe an ihnen den coitus geiibt (Hexenprocesse). 
Manner haben durch den auf die Genitalien ausgeiibten 
Druck analoge Sensationen undmeistens Samenergiisse/ 
('Sometimes voluptuous feelings are coupled with those of 
Angst; especially with women, who often believe that the 
night-fiend has copulated with them (as in the Witch trials) . 
Men have analogous sensations from the pressure exerted 
on the genitals, mostly followed by seminal emission/) 

1 Paulus Aegineta, loc. cit. 8 Waller, op. cit. p. 25. 

* Waller, op. cit. p. 55. 

4 L... Loewenfeld, Sexualleben und Nervenleiden, 46 Aufl., 1906, S. 206. See 
also 'Uber sexuelle Traume', Sexual-Probleme, Okt., 1908, Jahrg. iv. S. 592. 
8 Boerner, op. cit. S. 27. 


Cubasch 1 similarly finds that the majority of Nightmares 
manifest erotic features; after describing the symptoms 
of an attack he adds: 'Haufig gesellen sich bei Mannern 
noch unwillkiihrliche Samenverhiste hinzu. Bei Frauen 
ist der Alp meistens liebenswiirdigerer Natur: er stiirzt 
sich nicht pldtzlich auf sein Opfer, sondern tritt oft ganz 
gemachlich in die Stube, und steigt dann ebenso gemach- 
lich auf das Lager, um sich der Traumerin als Beischlafer 
zuzugesellen/ ('With men they are often accompanied 
by losses of semen. With women the Bogey (Alp] is for 
the most part more gallant: he does not suddenly throw 
himself on his victim, but often enters the room gently 
and just as gently climbs on to the couch, so as to become 
a love partner of the sleeper/) The description given by 
Delassus 2 is equally unequivocal: 'Une angoisse immense 
etreint Tetre qui sent 1'approche de Tlncube ou du 
Succube. La gorge se serre; un commencement de suffoca- 
tion se produit, en meme temps toutes les muqueuses 
sont caressees par des titillements voluptueux. II semble 
qu'un amant extraordinairement expert vous enveloppe, 
vous penetre, se fond en vous. La jouissance alors est 
insensee, la depense nerveuse terrible/ Madame Bla- 
vatsky, 3 in a series of thrilling delineations, gives a vivid 
account of the lustful violence manifested by the 
threatening being. 'A young girl, almost a child, was 
desperately struggling against a powerful middle-aged 
man, who had surprised her in her own room, and during 
her sleep. Behind the closed and locked door I saw listen- 
ing an old woman, whose face, notwithstanding the 
fiendish expression upon it, seemed familiar to me, and 
I immediately recognized it: it was the face of the Jewess 
who had adopted my niece in the dream I had at Kioto. 
She had received gold to pay for her share in the foul 
crime, and was now keeping her part of the covenant. 
. . . But who was the victim? O horror unutterable! 
Unspeakable horror! it was my own child-niece. ... I 
fastened upon him, but the man heeded it not, he seemed 

1 Cubasch, op. cit. S. 8. f Delassus, op. cit. p. 50. 

H. P. Blavatsky, Nightmare Tales, 1892, pp. 47, 48. 


not even to feel my hand. The coward, seeing himself 
resisted by the girl, lifted his powerful arm, and the thick 
fist, coming down like a heavy hammer upon the sunny 
locks, felled the child to the ground. 

'I could hardly shut my eyes without becoming witness 
of some horrible deed, some scene of misery, death or 
crime, whether past, present or even future. . . . Scenes 
of wickedness, of murder, of treachery and of lust fell 
dismally upon my sight, and I was brought face to face 
with the vilest results of man's passions, the most 
terrible outcome of his material earthly cravings/ 

The erotic character may be so evident that the op- 
pressing agent, however hateful at first, becomes more 
or less suddenly transformed into a most attractive be- 
ing of the opposite sex. This type of Nightmare, which 
is not very rare, was recognized over sixty years ago by 
Macario, 1 who gave the following graphic description of 
it: 'II est une variet6 de cauchemar dans lequel les 
monstres horribles, une femme vieille et hideuse, s'ap- 
prochent de vous, s'appuient sur votre poitrine de tout 
le poids de leur corps. L'infortunit6 eprouve alors des 
angoisses inexprimables; la sueur ruisselle de tous ses 
pores, toutes les fibres de son etre fremissent d'horreur, 
et puis tout a coup, comme par enchantement, ces 
monstres, cette vieille sorcire, se transforment quelque- 
fois en une jeune et jolie personne; les organes de la 
g6n6ration sont alors excites par cet objet imaginaire; 
ils entrent en action et la crise a lieu.' 

Hallucinations of exactly the same nature as those 
described above are extremely common in many forms 
of mental disorder, and almost every asylum contains 
patients who bitterly complain of the attentions forced 
on them by various nightly visitors. Simon, 2 in speaking 
of erotic hallucinations, points out the same alternation 
between hateful and attractive visitations that we have 
just mentioned in connection with Nightmare. He says: 

1 M. A. Macario, 'Des r6ves consid6re*s sous le rapport physiologique et 
pathologique', Annales mtdico-psychologiques, 1847, p. 38. 
8 M. Simon, Le monde des v6ves t 1882, pp. 183, 184. 


'Tantot le spectre hallucinatoire est de forme agreable: 
c'est un mari, un amant, une femme aimee et, dans ces 
cas, la sensation eprouvee par I'hallucine est voluptueuse. 
Plus souvent, peut-etre, T hallucination visuelle est re- 
poussante: il s'agit du demon, de quelque etre difforme, 
d'une vieille femme a 1' aspect hideux dont les embrasse- 
ments sont pour Faliene un objet d'horreur; d' images de- 
goutantes qui poursuivent le malade et qui Fobsedent. 
Dans ces cas, 1' hallucination genitale consiste en une im- 
pression douloureuse, a tout le moins, penible ou des- 
agreable/ Chaslin 1 relates an interesting case in which 
the one type of hallucination appeared in Angst attacks 
in the waking state, and the other during dreams. The 
case well illustrates how much more effective is the 
'repression' during the waking state, so that when the 
inhibitions of consciousness have been to some extent 
abrogated, as during sleep, the desire may be gratified 
without any concealment. The patient was a woman of 
twenty-three. 'Les attaques d'hysterie sont prec6dees 
d'une hallucination: un homme se precipite sur la malade 
avec un couteau. Grande frayeur. Reves fr6quents de 
rhomme au couteau n'amenant jamais d' attaques, mais 
quelquefois le r6veil en sursaut. Reves voluptueux dans 
lesquels elle voit un homme imaginaire, mais toujours le 
meme. Jamais d'autres reves penibles/ It is important in 
this connection to remember how frequent is a voluptuous 
trait in the Angst attacks of the waking state; indeed 
this often passes on to actual emission during the attack, 
a phenomenon to which attention was first drawn by 
Loewenfeld 2 in the case of men, and by Janet 3 in the 
case of women. 

It is clear that the great rarity with which Nightmare 
attacks persons who are sleeping in any other posture 
than the supine or prone one is readily explicable on the 
psychological view here maintained, for these are the 
postures in which the love embrace is normally consum- 

1 Chaslin, op. cit. p. 54. 

8 L. Loewenfeld, 'Zur Lehre von den neurotischen Angstzust&nden', Munch, 
med. Wochenschr., 1897, No. 24, 25. 
8 P. Janet, Les obsessions et la psychasthtnie, 1903, tome i. p. 222. 



mated. Burton's 1 observation, then, concerning those 
who are 'troubled with incubus, or witch-ridden (as we 
call it): if they lie on their backs, they suppose an old 
woman rides and sits so hard upon them, that they are 
almost stifled for want of breath', needs no detailed elu- 
cidation. In significant accord with this explanation is 
the well-known fact that most sleepers experience volup- 
tuous dreams far more often when in the supine posture 
than when in any other. 2 Paulus Aegineta 3 laid great 
stress on this in the treatment of satyriasis and allied 

In exactly the same way may be explained the mode 
of operation of all the other physical factors besides 
posture, namely as external stimuli which evoke a body 
of feeling that is already present and very ready to be 
evoked. It has generally been supposed that they actu- 
ally create this feeling, a view well expounded for in- 
stance by Rousset: 4 'Qu'une sensation isolee telle que 
celle d'un poids pesant au creux epigastrique, sensation 
que donne la gene croissante de la respiration, que cette 
sensation, dis-je, parvienne a ebranler le sensorium ainsi 
assoupi; aussitot elle fera naitre Tidee d'un objet dont 
la forme sera en rapport avec Tespoir, la crainte, le 
mysticisme, le sensualisme, en un mot avec les idees 
habituelles ou dominantes de Tindividu a Tetat de veille; 
ce sera un chat, un singe, une vieille femme, une sorciere, 
un monstre hideux, un revenant ou bien enfin un amant 
redoute ou desire, qu'il s'appelle le diable ou qu'au con- 
traire il porte un nom moins terrible/ On the contrary 
it is here maintained that these sensations will arouse 
the emotions in question only in persons in whom the 
emotions are already present and, as it were, lying near 
the surface. What we have called the predisposition is 
thus the all-important essential in the production of the 

1 Burton, op. cit. vol. i. Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. 3, Subsect. 2, p. 134. 

2 The prevalence of the supine posture over the prone even among males is 
to be accounted for by the passive part played by the sleeper, who yields 
often against his will to a desire that is felt to be of external origin, something 
forced on him: this attitude is closely akin to the feminine and masochistic 
components of the sexual instinct. 

8 Paulus Aegineta, op. cit. pp. 594, 596. * Rousset, op. cit. p. 50. 


attack; the external stimuli are of minimal significance. 
We thus have the key to the easily verifiable observa- 
tion that these external 'causes' can bring about an 
attack only in persons who are subject to the malady, and 
that on the other hand the most scrupulous avoidance 
of all these alleged 'causes' will not prevent attacks with 
those in whom the predisposition is sufficiently pro- 
nounced. It is probable that most of the causes that 
have been given by various writers in this connection 
may play some slight part in the manner we have indi- 
cated, though I am convinced that the significance of 
them has in the past been greatly exaggerated. For in- 
stance, that a heavy repast is apt to be followed by an 
accession of erotic desire is an observation acted on by 
every roue\ that it, like alcohol, tends to dull the activity 
of the conscious inhibitions of the waking state and so 
release suppressed mental trends is so well known as to 
make it comprehensible that it may occasionally play 
some part in the evocation of Nightmare; Sine Cerere et 
Baccho friget Venus. A full stomach may also act by 
arousing the sensation of a heavy weight lying in, and 
therefore on, the abdomen. The relation of diet in general 
to erotic dreams is fully dealt with by Spitta. 1 Again, in 
considering the effect of respiratory obstruction as an 
inciting cause of Nightmare, one has to remember the 
important, though commonly ignored, connection be- 
tween stimulation of the upper air passages and erotic 
excitation. That these passages constitute an eroto- 
genic zone of varying intensity was first pointed out by 
Sir Morell Mackenzie 2 ; the subject has been fully dis- 
cussed since by Endriss among many other writers. 
This connection holds good in disorders as well as in 
health, so that pathological irritation or obstruction is 
apt to arouse various partial, i.e. perverse combinations 
of the sexual instinct. Thus the observations made in 

1 H. Spitta, Die Schlaf- und Traumzustdnde der menschlichen Seele, 1882, S. 

8 Sir Morell Mackenzie, 'Irritation of the Sexual Apparatus as an etiological 
factor in the Production of Nasal Disease', The American Journal of the 
Medical Sciences, 1884, p. 4. 


this connection by the older writers almost always con- 
tain a certain modicum of truth, although the explana- 
tions of them offered have been wide of the mark in 
attributing to physical factors ninety-nine per cent of 
importance in the production of Nightmare, whereas in 
reality less than one per cent should be so attributed. 

We have last to say something about the clinical sig- 
nificance of Nightmare. I shall take the definition of 
Nightmare in its strict sense, as a distressing dream 
necessarily showing, amongst other features, the three 
cardinal ones that were described above. A large variety 
of distressing dreams, equalling in intensity the classical 
Nightmare attack but not having the sense of direct 
physical oppression characteristic of this, will thus be 

It is impossible to reach even an approximate estimate 
of the frequency of the malady. Jewell's 1 finding from 
questionnaire work that they are the most frequent of 
all dreams is obviously based on an unduly wide concep- 
tion of Nightmare. Waller's 2 statement that there are 
few affections more universal among all classes of society 
is certainly untrue if the definition just given is adhered 
to, for true Nightmare is beyond doubt much rarer than 
the more complex forms of Angst dreams. Waller 3 and 
Macnish 4 both state that men are more subject to it than 
women, and of these unmarried women more than the 
married. In judging from my own experience I would 
say that the second statement is true; as to the first, I 
have no decisive evidence, though I would agree with 
Cubasch 5 when he says that the manifestations of Night- 
mare are generally more stormy and vehement among 
men, and the agony correspondingly greater. Waller 6 and 
Macnish 7 also state that sailors are of all men most sub- 
ject to Nightmare, the former attributing this to their 
coarse unwholesome food; there is, however, a clue to 

1 J. R. Jewell, The Psychology of Dreams', American Journal of Psychology, 
1905, vol. xvi. p. 4. 

* Waller, op. cit. p. 14. Waller, op. cit. p. 68. 

4 Macnish, op. cit. p. 134. 5 Cubasch, op. cit. S. 8. 

6 Waller, op. cit. p. 66. 7 Macnish, loc. cit. 


another explanation in Macnish's remark, made in the 
days when long voyages were common, that the attacks 
more often occurred at sea than on shore. Bond 1 quaintly 
observes that 'Melancholy persons, profound Mathe- 
maticians, and fond pining Lovers, are most subject to 
this affection', and Bell, a still earlier writer, 2 says that 
it affects those who 'are Melancholly, of few and gross 
Spirits and abounding with Phlegm'. 

In subjects who pass as being mentally normal, Night- 
mares never occur as isolated morbid phenomena; on 
investigation it will always be found that other mani- 
festations of Angst neurosis are present, with or without 
evidences of hysteria. In short, Nightmare may in such 
a subject be regarded as a symptom of this affection, and 
should be treated accordingly. This fact was partly 
realized nearly a century ago by Waller 3 when he wrote 
that 'Nightmare may be considered only as a symptom 
of great nervous derangement or hypochondriasis'. I 
may add that in my experience 'repression' of the 
feminine or masochistic component of the sexual instinct 
rather than of the masculine is apt to engender the 
typical Nightmare, a fact which probably explains why 
the malady is usually more severe, and possibly even 
more frequent, in men, with whom this component is 
more constantly and more intensely repressed than with 

In subjects who deviate still more from the normal, 
more alarming evidences of a lack of harmonious control 
of the psycho-sexual activities may be present, such as 
satyriasis or nymphomania, as in a case recorded by 
Ribes. 4 This, however, is decidedly uncommon. Also, as 
was previously mentioned, the affection is frequently 
met with in various forms of mental alienation, particu- 
larly manic-depressive insanity and dementia praecox, 
and especially during the early stages of the disease. 

We may summarize the conclusions reached in the 

1 Bond, op. cit. p. 27. a Andrew Bell, op. cit. p. 13. 

8 Waller, op. cit. p. 7. 

4 F. Ribes, ' Observation d'un cauchemar cause" par la nymphomanie', Mtm. 
et observ. d'anat., de phys., etc., 1845, t. iii. p. 127. 


statement that Nightmare is a form of Angst attack, that 
it is essentially due to an intense mental conflict centre- 
ing around a repressed component of the psycho-sexual 
instinct, essentially concerned with incest, and that it may 
be evoked by any peripheral stimuli that serve to arouse 
this body of repressed feeling; the importance, however, 
of such peripheral stimuli in this connection has in the 
past been greatly over-estimated as a factor in producing 
the affection. 





THE attempt is made in this book to estimate the part 
that Nightmare experiences have played in the pro- 
duction of certain false ideas. These ideas incubus, 
vampire, werewolf, devil and witchcraft have a great 
deal in common. For three hundred years, from about 
1450 to 1750, they were fused together and reached their 
acme of importance; they are still accepted by many in 
their original form, and by far more in their essential 
elements. The deepest source of them is identical with 
all, and they have all been responsible for an incalculable 
amount of human suffering. These sources are still active 
in human nature even though the expression of them has 
changed in the last couple of centuries, so that interest 
in the subject is far from being a purely antiquarian one. 
My attention has been directed not so much to the 
historical aspects of the ideas in question as to their 
deeper psychological significance, but in contrast to 
some members of the so-called historical school of 
modern ethnology I have adopted the position that 
these two studies are not independent of each other. 
In order to obtain a clearer view of the material I have 
been several times obliged to leave the main theme 
itself, though I have avoided doing so more than 
was necessary. Lange 1 remarks 'im geschichtlichen 
Zusammenhange der Dinge schlagt ein Tritt tausend 
Faden, und wir konnen nur einen gleichzeitig verfolgen, 
Ja, wir konnen selbst dies nicht immer, weil der grobere 
sichtbare Faden sich in zahllose Fadchen verzweigt, die 
sich stellenweise unserem Blicke entziehen' . ('In historical 
connections a turn of the spindle moves a thousand 
threads, and we can follow only one at a time. Indeed, 
we cannot always do this, because the coarser visible 
thread ramifies into numerous filaments which at places 
escape from sight/) 

1 R. Lange, Geschichte de$ Materialismus, 1866, S. 282. 





""\HE interest men have at all ages taken in dreams 
and the far-reaching significance that has been 
attributed to them make it very probable that 
the phenomena there experienced have greatly influenced 
the forming of waking thoughts. If this, as I have shown 
elsewhere, 1 can still happen among educated people, it 
must have done so on a far more extensive scale in past 
ages when the general importance attaching to dreams 
was much greater than to-day. 

The vividness of dreams is so intense at times that 
even educated people may find it hard or actually im- 
possible to distinguish them from real events. 2 I have, 
for example, mentioned the case of a physician whose 
mistaking a dream for a real memory led to disagreeable 
consequences. 3 In fact, this confusion with reality 
characterizes all intense emotional experiences, not only 
in dreams, but also in other rarer expressions of the 
imagination such as ecstatic trances, visions and so on. 
Johannes Miiller 4 remarks in this connection: 'Eigentiim- 
lich diesen krankhaften Zustanden ist es, dass die Objek- 
tivitat der Erscheinungen zuverlassig anerkannt wird. 
In dem Glauben eines sichtbaren Umganges mit dem 
Teufel besteigt der Angeklagte den Scheiterhaufen, ein 
Opfer seiner eigenen Phantasie. Je nachdem die Vision 
die Gestalt eines guten oder bosen Geistes annahm, wurde 
der Damonische als heilig verehrt oder als Zauberer ver- 
brannt. Was bei dem Unbefangenen das Eigenleben der 
Sinnlichkeit, das Spiel einer dichtenden Phantasie, was 

1 'Some Instances of the Influence of Dreams on Waking Life', Journal of 
Abnormal Psychology, vol. vi. April 1911, p. n. 

2 See J. Ennemoser, Geschichte der Magie, 1844, S. 113. F. Fischer, Geschichte 
des Somnambulismus, 1839, Bd. i. S. 12. A. Lehmann, Aberglaube und 
Zauberei, Zweite deutsche Auflage, 1908, S. 493. H. Rau, Die Verirrungenin der 
Religion> 1904, S. 237. * Op. cit. p. 15. 

4 Johannes Muller, Vber die phantastischen Gesichtserscheinungen, 1826, S. 68, 



alien Menschen im Traume nicht mehr wunderbar 
erscheint, wird in der Geschichte verflucht und verehrt 
nach der Natur seiner Objekte. Das Gespenst und die 
Damonen aller Zeiten, die gottliche Vision des Asketen, 
die Geistererscheimmg des Magikers, das Traumobjekt 
und das Phantasiebild des Fiebernden und Irren sind 
eine und dieselbe Erscheinung. Nur der Gegenstand ist 
verschieden nach der Richtung einer exzentrischen Phan- 
tasie, eine gottliche Vision dem religiosen Schwarmer, 
dem furchtsamen ein furchtbares Phantasma, dem aber- 
glaiibisch buhlerischen Weib der Teufelsspuk, dem 
t-raiimenden Egmont die Erscheinung der Freiheit, dem 
Kiinstler ein himmlisches Idol, nach dem er langst 
gerungen. Der Zeitgeist leiht diesem plastischen Ein- 
bilden andere Objekte/ ('What is peculiar to these mor- 
bid states is that the objectivity of the phenomena is 
accepted with complete assurance. In the belief of having 
had visible relations with the Devil the accused mount 
the scaffold, victims of their own phantasy. According as 
the vision assumed the guise of a good or an evil spirit 
the daemonically inspired person was revered as holy or 
burned as a magician. What to the unsophisticated ap- 
pears as his own sensuousness, the play of an imagin- 
ative phantasy, what to everyone in their dreams seems 
nothing wonderful, is in history condemned and revered 
according to the nature of the objects. The ghost and the 
demons of all ages, the divine vision of the ascetic, the 
conjured-up spirits of the magician, the object of dream 
and phantasy in the feverish and deluded, are all one 
and the same phenomenon. Only the object is different 
in accord with the direction of an eccentric phantasy, a 
divine vision for the religious enthusiast, a frightful 
phantasm for the fearful, an apparition of the Devil for 
the superstitious lascivious woman, the manifestation 
of freedom for a dreaming Egmont, for the artist a long- 
sought-after celestial image. The spirit of the age lends 
this plastic imagery other objects/) We may also quote 
a passage from Hobbes 1 which is peculiarly apposite to 

1 T. Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651, ch. xii. 


the theme of the present book: 'From this ignorance of 
how to distinguish Dreams and other strong fancies from 
Vision and Sense did arise the greater part of the religion 
of the Gentiles in times past that worshipped Satyres, 
Faunes, Nymphs, and the like; and nowadays the opinion 
that rude people have of Fayries, Ghosts, and Goblins, 
and of the power of Witches/ 

This difficulty in distinguishing dreams from the 
experiences of waking life is naturally greater in less 
tutored minds, such as those of children and savages. 
Numerous observers have remarked on the extra- 
ordinary clearness with which dreams impose themselves 
on the minds of savages as indubitable reality. Herbert 
Spencer 1 lays special stress on this point and adduces a 
mass of material in illustration of it. Im Thurn 2 gives 
many striking examples of it at the present day: one 
Indian threatened to leave the traveller because the 
latter, so he said, had inconsiderately made him work 
all night dragging his canoe up a series of difficult 
cataracts ; another nearly killed a comrade on the 
ground that his master had ordered him to inflict a 
severe chastisement on him (it turned out that he had 
dreamt this). 

That dreams must have exercised a considerable in- 
fluence in moulding men's beliefs needs, therefore, no 
further demonstration, and there is also in several im- 
portant respects unanimity on the further questions of 
the extent of this influence and the details of the process 
itself. The first question will be discussed when we 
come to the form of dream with which we are here 
concerned, namely the Nightmare. The second question 
resolves itself into a study of individual beliefs and 
fancies. Two of the more general of these will next be 
mentioned; others will be met with later where they more 
suitably belong. 

The first, and in some respects the most important, 

1 'Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Sociology, third edition, 1890, vol. i. 
ch. x. pp. 132-142. 

a Sir Everard F. Im Thurn, Among the Indians of Guiana, 1883, pp. 344-346. 


example of the significance of dreams concerns beliefs 
about the soul. Tylor's 1 description of this idea among 
savage peoples has hardly been bettered. According to 
it the soul is 'a thin, unsubstantial human image, in its 
nature a sort of vapour, film, or shadow; the cause of life 
and thought in the individual it animates; independently 
possessing the personal consciousness and volition of its 
corporeal owner, past or present; capable of leaving the 
body far behind, to flash swiftly from place to place; 
mostly impalpable and invisible, yet also manifesting 
physical power, and especially appearing to men waking 
or asleep, as a phantasm separate from the body of 
which it bears the likeness; continuing to exist and 
appear to men after the death of that body; able to 
enter into, possess, and act in the bodies of other men, 
of animals, and even of things/ The primitive concep- 
tions of the soul may be divided, following Wundt, into 
two: those relating to the 'bound soul', the activating 
principle of various internal organs and external objects, 
and the 'free soul' or psyche. The latter itself has two 
roots, according to which may be distinguished the 
Hauchseele (Breath-Soul) and the Schattenseele (Shadow- 
Soul). The idea of the Breath-Soul, mainly taken as its 
name implies from the phenomenon of breathing and 
the cessation of this after death, has shown itself the 
better adapted for the higher religious conceptions, but 
that of the Shadow-Soul has played the more extensive 
part in all ages, and it is evidently the one with which 
we shall be mostly concerned in considering the various 
spirits and goblins that are associated with the emotion 
of fear. 

Most authorities 2 agree that the idea of the Shadow- 
Soul owes its origin almost exclusively to the experi- 

1 E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture, third edition, 1891, vol. i. p. 429. 

2 Ed. Clodd, Myths and Dreams, 1891, p. 170. J. Fiske, Myths and Myth- 
Makers, 1872, pp. 78, 220. J. G. Frazer, The Belief in Immortality, 1913, p. 27. 
Lehmann, op. cit. S. 494. E. H. Meyer, Germanische Mythologie, 1891, S. 61. 
E. Mogk, Germanische Mythologie, 1906, S. 32. J. Moses, Pathological Aspects 
of Religion, 1906, p. 6. Herbert Spencer, op. cit. pp. 135, 136; and Recent 
Discussions in Science, 1871, p. 36. E. B. Tylor, op. cit. p. 430. 


ences of dream life. Wundt, 1 for instance, writes: 'Das 
urspriinglichste und haufigste Motiv dieser primaren 
Vorstellung der Schattenseele ist unzweifelhaft das 
Traumbild . . . (Sie) hat allem Anscheine nach in Traum 
und Vision ihre einzige Quelle.' (The deepest and most 
frequent motive of this primary idea of the shadow-soul 
is undoubtedly the dream image . . . and so far as we 
can see its sole source is in dreams and visions/) Per- 
haps the only well-known writer who dissents from this 
conclusion is Crawley, 2 and the arguments he uses are 
so intellectualistic as not to commend themselves to any 
psychologist; I thus see no reason for not accepting the 
generally received opinion on this matter. The idea of 
the 'shadow-soul' has throughout preserved the charac- 
teristics (visibility, fugitiveness and fantastic change- 
ability) of its visual components. Into the various pro- 
blems about which is the most primitive form of belief in 
the soul, 3 the relations between magic and religion, and 
so on, it is unnecessary to enter here. What is for us of 
essential importance is the conclusion that dream ex- 
periences have furnished significant contributions to the 
developing conception of the soul, whether of the indi- 
vidual or of supernatural beings, and especially to its 
characteristics of existence apart from the body (transpor- 
tation through space, capacity for transformation, etc.). 
Dreams of the dead have played an important part in 
fashioning various religious ideas, their influence being 
all the greater because they so often bring back the fig- 
ures of lost loved ones. To begin with they strengthen, 
as Wundt 4 expounds, the conception founded on 
dreams in general of the 'other self, of the soul that 
can live and move apart from the body; they constitute 
further, as Herbert Spencer 5 has shown in detail, an 

1 W. Wundt, Volkerpsychologie, Zweiter Band, Mythus und Religion, Zweiter 
Teil, 1906, S. 86, 87. 

* A. E. Crawley, The Idea of the Soul, 1909, pp. 13-15. 

8 See, for instance, Irving King, The Development of Religion, 1910, ch. vi., 
and R. R. Marett, 'Pre-animistic Religion', Folklore, 1900, vol. xi. p. 198, on 
the conflict between the old animistic and the younger animatistic hypotheses. 

* Wundt, op. cit. S. 90. 

5 Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Sociology, pp. 182, 201, etc. 


important source of the belief in immortality and in the 
existence of another realm which the soul enters after 
the death of its owner. Again, they are the chief source 
of the belief that the dead can once more visit the scenes 
of their previous life, of the widespread idea of returning 
souls or revenants, 1 an idea that composes one of the 
chief traits of the mediaeval superstitions with which we 
are here concerned. It is seldom a matter of no conse- 
quence for the spirits of the departed to visit the living 
in dreams: to savages it is sometimes of good, oftener of 
evil, omen, and in the latter event the spirits have to be 
propitiated in various ways. 2 

The fact that so many of these revenants are the 
spirits of deceased parents is of fundamental importance 
in this connection, as will be evident to anyone familiar 
with the subject of psycho-analysis. The attitude of awe 
and fear in respect of dream visitors from the dead has 
been thought to be one of the main sources of ancestor- 
worship. The two are certainly related, but it is more 
likely that they both proceed from a common source 
than that one is the source of the other. The parallelism 
is none the less of interest, for, although Herbert 
Spencer's 3 view that ancestor-worship was the basis of 
all religions can no longer be maintained in its original 
form, 4 still the intimate connection between ancestor- 
worship and religious motivation has been shown by re- 
cent psycho-analytic research to be a fundamental one. 

A second class of belief in the formation of which 
dreams are supposed to have played a prominent part is 
that in transformation or interchangeability, i.e. the 
idea that a human spirit can pass into the body of 
another person or of an animal and that the reverse 
process can also happen. This was and is one of the 
most widely-spread superstitions of the world; among 

1 See, for instance, F. S. Krauss, Slavische Volksforschungen, 1908, S. no, 

8 See, for instance, A. W. Howitt, The Native Tribes of South-East Australia, 
1904, p. 434, and H. Ling Roth, The Natives of Sarawak and British North 
Borneo, 1896, vol. i. p. 232. 

8 Herbert Spencer, op. cit. p. 281 et seq f 

4 See Wundt, op. cit. S. 346, 347. 


uncivilized peoples it still holds full sway, 1 and even in 
Europe it is to be found not merely in the superior guise 
of metempsychosis, rebirth and the like, but also in its 
crude original forms. In the Middle Ages it was accepted 
by many exponents of Roman Catholic doctrine, and, 
largely for this reason, played an essential part in the 
construction of the superstitious beliefs we are about to 
consider. In folklore 2 and mythology metamorphosis has 
always been a favourite theme. Even in educated circles 
we still find interesting traces of it, such as when ani- 
mals are used as national emblems, in armorial bearings, 
as masks in carnivals and on the stage, as nicknames, 
etc. Of especial interest in connection with our theme is 
the fact that metamorphosis was so extensively and so 
intimately associated with the worship of animals 3 that 
we are compelled to infer an inherent relationship be- 
tween the two ideas. There can be little doubt that the 
idea of metamorphosis has important sources in dream 
experiences, for here the actual transformation of the 
figure of a human being into that of an animal and the 
occurrence of composite beings, half animal, half human, 
so often takes place directly before the eyes of the 
dreamer. 4 

When the untutored mind takes for reality dream 
experiences in which he sees himself carried to distant 
places, or speaks with someone whom he knows in his 
waking state to be far away, he must infer that the 
journey has actually taken place, and in an incredibly 
short space of time. 6 The similarity between the swift 
flight of birds and his own dreams of flying, which, as 
Wundt 6 has shown, must have yielded important con- 
tributions to the conception of winged beings (angels, 
etc.), served to evoke the belief in the night flights which 

1 E. S. Hartland, Primitive Paternity, 1909, vol. i. ch. iii. pp. 156-252. 
8 Marian Roalfe Cox, An Introduction to Folklore, second edition, 1904, ch. ii. 
pp. 85-129. 

* Herbert Spencer, op. cit. pp. 322-346. 

* This was pointed put by Guillaume de Paris in 1230. Cited from J. Hansen, 
Zauberwahn, Inquisition und Hexenprozess im Mittelalter, 1900, S. 138. 

5 Herbert Spencer, op. cit. p. 136. 

* Wundt, op. cit. S. 113. 


exercised considerable influence on various mediaeval 

The conclusions reached up to the present are as fol- 
lows: in the first place, dreams have played an important 
part in the genesis of beliefs in a soul that can live and 
move apart from the body, in fabulous and supernatural 
beings, in the continued existence of the soul after death 
with its power of returning from the grave and visiting 
the living, especially by night in the connection be- 
tween this idea and the spirits of departed ancestors 
(leading to the worship of these), in the possibility of 
human beings being transformed into other persons or 
into animals, in the identity of the spirits of animals 
with those of ancestors, and in night flights through the 
air. In the second place, the various conceptions just 
enumerated are closely associated with one another. 
The explanation of this strange connection between ideas 
apparently so remote from one another has always been 
impossible until Freud's discovery of psycho-analysis 
provided an adequate instrument for the investigation 
of the deeper processes of the human mind. In the course 
of this book the significance of this important connection 
will become clearer. 

Earlier investigations into the problem of what part 
dreams have played in the genesis of various kinds of 
superstition and myths were confined to consideration 
of the superficial content of dreams. Freud's epoch- 
making 1 revelation of the latent' content lying behind 
the 'manifest' content, i.e. behind the dream as directly 
perceived, enables us to make important progress in this 
investigation and throws a clear light on many problems 
that were previously quite obscure. At the same time 
as this discovery Freud further pointed out the intimate 
relation between the structure of myths and of dreams, 
and his hints have since been interestingly developed by 
Riklin, 2 Abraham 3 and Rank. 4 These writers have shown 

1 Sigm. Freud, Die Traumdeutung, 1900. 

1 F. Riklin, Wunscherfullung und Symbolih im Mdrchen, 1908. 

8 Karl Abraham, Traum und My thus, 1909. 

4 Otto Rank, Der Mythus von der Geburt des Helden, 1909. 



that there is an astonishing similarity between dreams 
and myths in respect of the unconscious mechanisms at 
work, the relation of both to repressed infantile wish- 
fulfilments, and even, to a considerable extent, to the 
nature of the symbolism at work in both. The gist of 
the matter is contained in the following sentences: 'So 
ist der Mythus ein erhalten gebliebenes Stuck aus dem 
infantilen Seelenleben des Volkes und der Traum der 
Mythus des Individuums'; 1 (The myth is thus a part of 
the infantile mental life of the people that has survived, 
and the dream the myth of the individual'); and 'Der 
Mythus enthalt (in verschleierter Form) die Kindheits- 
wiinsche des Volkes' 2 (The myth contains (in disguised 
form) the childhood wishes of the people'). We shall see 
that this can be shown to be also true of certain super- 
stitious ideas. 

This finding, of the substantial identity of individual 
dreams and of what may be called folk-dreams, raises, 
however, in a new way the old problem of how far the 
phenomena of dreams have actually been operative in 
providing material for the building up of myths. It makes 
this problem harder, since one can no longer as writers 
have often done regard the problem as solved as soon 
as one has simply noted the similarity between dreams 
and certain myths or kinds of superstition. Our know- 
ledge that the unconscious meaning of both may be 
identical opens the possibility that both may be mani- 
festations of the same underlying forces: a myth may be 
a collateral of the dream rather than a lineal descendant. 
It is a problem very similar to that of the relationship 
between dreams and psychoneurotic symptoms. 3 We 
know that both of these arise from very similar mechan- 
isms, from similar sources, and have similar meanings 
when interpreted; it is further known that the actual 
occurrence of some symptoms may date from particular 
dream experiences. In other words, even though both 

1 Karl Abraham, op. cit. S. 71. * Karl Abraham, op. cit. S. 36. 

* See my paper, 'The Relationship between Dreams and Psychoneurotic 
Symptoms , American Journal of Insanity, 1911, vol. Ixviii. [Reprinted in 
Papers on Psycho- Analysis.] 


may have a common cause, the symptom may some- 
times arise via a dream, and this is the only sense in 
which a neurotic symptom may properly be held to have 
arisen from a dream. In what sense, now, can it be said 
that a given myth or superstitious belief owes its origin, 
partly or wholly, to dream experiences? 

The difficulty in answering this question may be ex- 
pressed thus. First, a sufficient similarity between the 
belief in question and typical dream experiences must 
exist to warrant supposition that the two may be 
genetically related. Previously this would have been the 
sole evidence available, but with our increased knowledge 
we cannot be satisfied with any conclusion drawn from 
it alone and can regard it only as a suggestive stimulus 
to further investigation; in fact, the most important 
problems only begin at this point. Secondly, psycho- 
analytic comparison of the two phenomena must reveal 
an essential identity between the latent content, i.e. the 
unconscious meaning, of both. Even this, however, is not 
sufficient in itself, since, as was remarked above, both 
may represent separate manifestations of the same 
underlying source. Thirdly, the belief in question must 
contain definite features peculiar to, or at least highly 
characteristic of, dreams. Only when these three criteria 
are satisfied can we infer with confidence that dream 
experiences must have helped to build up the super- 
stitious belief. 

For the features characteristic of dream processes the 
reader is referred to works on that subject, particularly 
to Freud's Die Traumdeutung. I will merely recall here 
their predominantly visual imagery, the extensive use 
made of condensation and displacement mechanisms, 
the recurrence of certain 'typical' dreams (inhibition 
dreams, examination dreams, exposure dreams, etc.), 
and the predominance of sexual symbolism. Thus, to 
take one or two examples, if we came across a belief that 
such and such a supernatural occurrence is followed by a 
state of mental paralysis, we should be justified in sus- 
pecting that it had been influenced by dream experiences; 


the same would be true for beliefs in impossible creatures 
obviously compounded of two or more animals, and so on. 

We may now consider from this point of view some 
dreams that have been generally supposed to influence 
various superstitious beliefs. Naturally this can be true 
only of dreams common to a great number, if not the 
majority, of mankind. Now the more 'typical' a dream 
is, i.e. the more stereotyped its occurrence with a great 
number of people, the more surely will its latent content 
be found to be of a sexual nature, and we must therefore 
be prepared to find that the same may be true of any 
superstitious beliefs derived, partly or wholly, from them. 

Dreams of people who are dead occur most frequently, 
and are most heavily charged with emotion when the 
dead person represents the father or mother. They are 
concerned with the deepest conflicts of love and hate, 
and originate ultimately in incest motives repressed 
from consciousness in childhood. This astonishing state- 
ment has been extensively confirmed in actual psycho- 
analytic investigations of the unconscious mind, which 
are taken as the basis for the present study. 

In respect of those dreams in which figures of animals 
play a prominent part the reader should first be re- 
minded that for the untutored mind, e.g. children and 
savages, the gulf we perceive between human beings and 
animals is much less apparent. As Hartland 1 says: The 
lines we draw between the lower animals and the vege- 
table and mineral kingdoms on the one hand and human 
beings on the other hand are not drawn in the lower 
culture/ Fiske 2 writes similarly: 'Nothing is more char- 
acteristic of primitive thinking than the close commun- 
ity of nature which it assumes between man and brute. 
The doctrine of metempsychosis, which is found in some 
shape or other all over the world, implies a fundamental 
identity between the two. . . . The recent researches of 
Mr. McLennan and Mr. Herbert Spencer have served 
to connect this feeling with the primeval worship of 

1 E. S. Hartland, of. cit. p. 250. 
1 Fiske, op. cit. p. 74. 


ancestors and with the savage customs of totemism/ 
Even educated people can still feel this relationship in 
a varying measure, a fact which is often made use of for 
literary purposes. 1 How recent our present attitude to- 
wards animals is may be judged by remembering that 
until the past few centuries human responsibility was 
legally ascribed to them. 2 They used to be formally tried, 
and at times condemned to the gallows as murderers. 3 
At Basle in 1474, for instance, a cock was tried on the 
devilish charge of having laid an egg and, though its 
lawyer pleaded that there was no record of the Devil 
ever having made a pact with an animal and that, in any 
case, the laying of an egg was an involuntary act, his 
client was condemned to death and solemnly burned at 
the stake as a sorcerer in disguise. A Court of Law held 
at Troyes in 1516 solemnly admonished caterpillars that 
had laid waste the district, and made an order that they 
were to leave the neighbourhood within a given number 
of days under pain of banishment and excommunica- 
tion. 4 It was only in 1846 that the English law of Deo- 
dand was rescinded, according to which any animal that 
had injured someone was declared the property of the 
Crown and sold for the benefit of the poor. 

Naturally it is in spheres where the dominant interests 
are of a kind common to human beings and animals that 
the distinction between these is less sharply defined than 
elsewhere; this is the reason why children and primitive 
peoples are much more impressed by the resemblance be- 
tween them than are poets and philosophers. Doubtless 
the feature of animals that most attracts a personal 
interest of untutored minds is the freedom they display 
in openly satisfying needs, particularly those of a sexual 
and excremental order, which with human beings have 
often to be restrained; in fact, the expression 'animal 

1 [One may recall, for instance, the success attending David Garnett's Lady 
into Fox.] 

1 See E. P. Evans, Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, 

8 R. M. Lawrence, The Magic of the Horse-shoe, 1899, pp. 308-311. 

4 E. Martinengo-Cesaresco, Essays in the Study of Folk-Songs, 1886, p. 


passions' is generally employed to denote sexual im- 
pulses. Children often owe their first experience of sexual 
activities to the sight of animal copulation, and every 
psycho-analyst knows how important the influence of 
this can be. Animals therefore lend themselves to the 
indirect representation of crude and unbridled wishes. 
Analytical experience has shown that the occurrence of 
animals in a dream regularly indicates a sexual theme, 
usually an incest one, a typical example being the maiden' s 
dream of being pursued or attacked by rough animals. 
In numerous myths the sexual meaning of the trans- 
formation of human being into animal is quite clear. 
There is, for instance, a large class of fairy tales in which 
the wonderful prince appears first in the guise of a frog, 
snake, bear, bird or any other animal, to disclose his true 
nature at the appropriate moment. Riklin 1 has clearly 
shown how the gradual overcoming of the resistance to 
sexuality is represented by the releasing from the spell 
in these stories, i.e. the release from guilt and disgust. 
In many variants the prince is an animal by day and re- 
sumes his own personality by night, as was so with the 
son of Indra, 2 the prototype of the class. In Greek myth- 
ology this disguise was a favourite aid adopted by the 
gods during their love adventures. One thinks at once of 
Zeus' seduction of Europa in the form of a bull, of Leda 
in that of a swan and of Persephone in that of a 
snake; this last disguise was also employed by Apollo on 
his visit to Atys, while at other times he masqueraded 
as a tortoise. To imitate the gods in this respect became 
indeed at times a religious rite, as when the women in 
Mendes 'submitted themselves nude and openly to the 
embraces of the sacred goat, which represented the in- 
carnation of the procreative deity/ 3 The 'Alp' (bogey) 
of the Middle Ages often appeared in the guise of a cat, 
a pig or other animal, 4 and an episode is described at a 

1 Riklin, op. cit. S. 41-46. 

2 Sir Richard Burton, Adaptation of'Vikram and the Vampire', 1893, preface, 

p. 15- 

8 Quoted from Moses, op. cit. p. 26. 
* W. Hertz, Der Werwolf, 1862, S. 73. 


Cologne nunnery where a lecherous dog was assumed to 
be a lewd demon. 1 

I would again call attention here to the connection 
alluded to earlier between animal dreams and animal 
worship. There can be no doubt that the explanation of 
animal worship must lie in the equation between animal 
and ancestor, and psychologically ancestor means parent. 
Herbert Spencer 2 was of opinion that primitive man was 
led to identify animals with his ancestors in the follow- 
ing three ways: first, the stealthy way in which both 
enter houses at night when the inmates are asleep; 
secondly, the presence of animals in the neighbourhood 
of corpses and graves; and thirdly, the confusion arising 
through primitive language. We know now that there 
are more significant associations between the two ideas. 
As the result of our dream studies we cannot fail to be 
struck by the observation that the associations from 
the equated (symbolical) animal and parent diverge into 
two exactly opposite directions and lead to the most re- 
vered and most despised ideas of which the human mind 
is capable, those of God and of genital organ respectively. 
We are thus faced with the riddle not merely of phallic 
religions, but probably with that of religion altogether. 
This train of thought alone and it is one supported by 
many other convergent trains would suggest that the 
secret of religion is to be sought ultimately in the rela- 
tion of the child to its parents. This theme is implicit 
throughout the present work: we shall be concerned with 
what might be called a parody of religion incubi in- 
stead of angels, devil instead of God and witches instead 
of Goddesses and it is in these negative aspects of re- 
ligion that the underlying incestuous motives can most 
plainly be demonstrated. [Shortly after this book was 
first published there appeared Freud's celebrated Totem 
and Tabu, in which this theme of the relations between 
the idea of animals and of gods on the one hand, and 
between those of the idea of animals and of sexuality on 

1 E. Laurent u. P. Nagour, Okkultismus und Liebe, 1903, S. 108. 
8 Herbert Spencer, op. cit. pp. 345, 346. 


the other are faithfully dealt with. The rich contents of 
this work are by now too well known to need recapitu- 
lation here; among them is a welcome confirmation 
and amplification of the chief ideas presented in this 



WE have set ourselves the task of showing that 
similar connections exist between dreams and 
superstitious beliefs as other psycho-analysts 
have shown to exist between dreams and myths, and 
further, that with the former at least dreams have also 
exercised a certain genetic influence. Before Freud's time 
a similar attempt to the present one was once made in 
respect of myths, and interestingly enough the starting 
point was the same as that here employed, namely the 
Nightmare. I refer to Laistner's 1 remarkable book pub- 
lished in 1889. In it he took the clinical characteristics 
of the Nightmare and with extraordinary ingenuity 
traced them through a very large series of myths. There 
was of course at that time no knowledge of the uncon- 
scious layers of the mind, so that to-day the chief value 
of his work is a casuistic one. Partly because of certain 
philological difficulties Laistner's work was unduly 
neglected by mythologists, though before Freud's it 
should be counted as perhaps the most serious attempt 
to place mythology on a naturalistically intelligible basis. 
It is generally recognized that the Nightmare has 
exercised a greater influence on waking phantasy than 
any other dream. 2 This is especially true of the origin of 
the belief in evil spirits and monsters. Clodd, 3 for in- 
stance, speaks of 'the intensified form of dreaming called 
"nightmare", when hideous spectres sit upon the breast, 
stopping breath and paralysing motion, and to which is 
largely due the creation of the vast army of nocturnal 
demons that fill the folk-lore of the world, and that, 
under infinite variety of repellent form, have had place 

1 L. Laistner, Das Rdtsel der Sphinx. 

9 E. H. Meyer, Germdnische Mythologie, 1891, S. 10, 61, 76-79. W. Wundt, 
Volkerpsychologie, Zweiter Band, Mythus und Religion, Zweiter Teil, 1906, 
S, 118-122. 

8 E. Clodd, Myths and Dreams. 1891, p. 171. 



in the hierarchy of religions'. Some mythologists even 
trace the belief in spirits in general to the experiences of 
the Nightmare. Thus Golther 1 states: 'Der Seelenglaube 
beruht zum grossen Teil auf der Vorstellung von qualen- 
den Druckgeistern. Erst allmahlich entstand weiterhin 
der Glaube an Geister, die den Menschen nicht nur 
qualten und driickten. Zunachst aber ging der Gespen- 
sterglaube aus dem Alptraum hervor/ (The belief in 
the soul rests in great part on the conception of tor- 
turing and oppressing spirits. Only as a gradual exten- 
sion of this did the belief arise in spirits that displayed 
other activities than torturing and oppressing. In the 
first place, however, the belief in spirits took its origin 
in the Nightmare/) 

All this is not surprising when we remember that the 
vividness of Nightmares far transcends that of ordinary 
dreams. Waller 2 says: The degree of consciousness 
during a paroxysm of Nightmare is so much greater than 
ever happens in a dream, that the person who has had a 
vision of this kind cannot easily bring himself to acknow- 
ledge the deceit. . . . Indeed I know no way which a man 
has of convincing himself that the vision which has 
occurred during a paroxysm of Nightmare is not real, 
unless he could have the evidence of other persons to 
the contrary who were present and awake at the time/ 

As Macnish 3 insists: The illusions which occur are 
perhaps the most extraordinary phenomena of night- 
mare; and so strongly are they often impressed upon 
the mind, that, even on awaking, we find it impossible 
not to believe them real. ... In many cases, no argu- 
ments, no efforts of the understanding will convince us 
that these are merely the chimeras of sleep/ 

Before we discuss the part that the Nightmare has 
played in giving rise to superstitious ideas we must first 
say something about the Nightmare itself. The three 
cardinal features of a typical Nightmare are: (i) agon- 

1 W. Golther, Handbuch der germanischen Mythologie, 1895, S. 75. 

2 J. Waller, A Treatise on the Incubus, or Nightmare, 1816, pp. 28 
8 R. Macnish, The Philosophy of Sleep, 1836, p, 143. 


izing dread; (2) a suffocating sense of oppression at the 
chest; and (3) a conviction of helpless paralysis. Less 
conspicuous features are an outbreak of cold sweat, 
convulsive palpitation of the heart, and sometimes a 
flow of seminal or vaginal secretion, or even a paralysis 
of the sphincters. The explanations of this condition still 
current in medical circles, and which ascribe it to 
digestive or circulatory disturbances, are probably 
farther from the truth than any other medical views, 
and show as little knowledge of the pathogenesis of the 
condition as was shown in regard to the infection of 
wounds before Lister's day, or to tuberculosis before 
Koch's. This is all the stranger since medical practitioners 
of earlier centuries were well-informed about the sexual 
origin of the condition. It is one more illustration of 
how the advance of medicine in the material field during 
the past century or two has led to the forgetting of much 
valuable knowledge in the psychopathological field; the 
sexual origin of Nightmares had to be re-discovered 
anew in the twentieth century just as did that of 

In a previous essay on the subject 1 I have objected to 
the current medical hypotheses (a) that from their very 
nature they are incapable of explaining the essential 
features of the condition; (&) that the noxious factors 
invoked frequently occur in patients who do not suffer 
from the Nightmare and are usually absent in patients 
who do suffer from it. These factors can therefore at 
most be operative as incitements, not as the cause itself; 
the latter one reaches by concentrating on the central 
symptom of deathly fear. After pointing out how Freud 
had demonstrated the essential dependence of morbid 
anxiety on repressed Libido I summarized the con- 
clusions of the essay in the statement that Nightmare is 
a form of anxiety attack, that it is essentially due to an 
intense mental conflict centreing around some repressed 
component of the psycho-sexual instinct, characteristi- 

1 'On the Nightmare', American Journal of Insanity, 1910 [Part I. of this 


cally re-activation of the normal incest wishes of infancy, 
and that it may be evoked by any peripheral stimuli that 
serve to arouse associatively this body of repressed 
feeling; the importance, however, of such peripheral 
stimuli as factors in producing the affection has in the 
past been greatly over-estimated. I added that repression 
of the feminine, masochistic component of the sexual 
instinct rather than that of the more masculine is apt to 
engender the typical Nightmare, a view to which Adler 1 
has also subscribed. The latent content of a Nightmare 
consists of a representation of a normal act of sexual 
intercourse, particularly in the form characteristic for 
women; the pressure on the breast, the self-surrender 
portrayed by the feeling of paralysis, and the genital 
secretion directly indicate its sexual nature, and the 
other symptoms, the palpitation, sweating, sense of 
suffocation, etc., are merely exaggerations of manifesta- 
tions commonly experienced in some degree during 
coitus when fear is present. 

Special emphasis should be laid on the circumstance 
that wishes fulfilled in this way always belong to the 
most powerfully repressed ones. This explains two signi- 
ficant facts: in the first place, that the same person may 
experience on one occasion a voluptuous dream, on an- 
other a Nightmare. This depends principally on the ob- 
ject of the wish, so that with a Nightmare the object is 
always a person whom the inhibiting forces of morality 
exclude from the erotic sphere. It is therefore compre- 
hensible that the psycho-analysis of such dreams regu- 
larly shows them to relate to a near relative, most 
usually a parent. In the second place, as I have else- 
where 2 illustrated, an important matter constantly over- 
looked by modern physicians in discussing the patho- 
genesis of the Nightmare is that clinically all gradations 
may be observed between the most extreme form of this 
on the one hand and erotic dreams on the other. When 

1 Alfred Adler, 'Der psychische Hermaphroditismus im Leben und in der 
Neurose 1 , Fortsckritte der Medizin, 21 April 1910, S. 492. 
1 Op. cit. pp. 411-413. 



the repression is slight, so that its effect is practically 
nullified by the inhibition of the endopsychic censorship 
that occurs during sleep, an erotic desire, perhaps one 
which would be suppressed in waking moments, can 
come to imaginary fulfilment in a dream. When the re- 
pression is greater the dream contains a mixture of 
pleasurable sensation and of discomfort or fear. When 
the repression is greater still the fear may overshadow 
the voluptuous feeling, and in the extreme case of the 
typical Nightmare it entirely replaces it. This circum- 
stance, that an admixture of erotic and apprehensive 
emotions may be found in all degrees, we shall see to be 
extensively paralleled by the various myths and super- 
stitious beliefs connected with the Nightmare theme. 

We have mentioned above the vividness and the im- 
pression of reality characteristic of the Nightmare. It is 
therefore not astonishing that in all countries and in all 
ages except the present it has been attributed to the 
presence of actual strange beings. Thus we have the 
Greek Ephialtes, the Latin and Mediaeval Incubus, the 
German Alp, the Old-German Mara, the Bohemian 
Mora, the Swiss Schratteli, the Scottish Leamain Sith, 
the Russian Kikimara, the Arcadian Kiel-uddakarra, 
the Mexican Ciuateteo, the Assyrian Ardat, 1 the Malay 
Langsuior, 2 the Tasmanian Evil-Spirit, 3 the Australian 
Mrart, 4 and the Autu 5 of Borneo. A striking confirma- 
tion of the conclusions enunciated above is the circum- 
stance that all these oppressing spirits are character- 
istically lewd demons. Even the scientific terms used to 
designate the Nightmare, namely Incubus and Ephi- 
altes, originally signified a lewd demon. 6 In other words, 

1 F. Lenormant, Chaldean Magic, English translation, 1877, p. 38. 

a F. A. Swettenham, Malay Sketches, 1895, p. 198. 

8 J. West, The History of Tasmania, 1852, vol. ii. p. 90. 

4 A. W. Howitt, The Native Tribes of South-East Australia, 1904, p. 439. 

5 H. Ling Roth, The Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo, 1896. 

6 See, for instance, Bay ley, English Dictionary, 1785. Art. Incubus: 'The 
Nightmare, a Disease when a Man in his Sleep Supposes he has a great Weight 
lying upon him: a Devil who has Carnal Knowledge of a Woman under the 
Shape of a Man 1 . Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, Pt. I. Sec. 2, Mem. 3, 
Subsect. 2: 'and in such as are troubled with incubus, or witch-ridden (as we 
call it): if they lie on their back, they suppose an old woman rides and sits so 
hard on them, that they are almost stifled for want of breath*. 


with the sole exception of modern physicians, people 
have constantly regarded the Nightmare as a sexual 
assault on the part of a lewd demon. We have seen that 
this folk belief had a certain justification. The view that 
the process is essentially a sexual one was quite correct; 
but the unconscious wishes giving rise to it were pro- 
jected from the subject on to the outer world, as Freud 1 
has shown characteristically happens in superstitions. 
Science, therefore, in setting aside the popular belief re- 
jected the truth as well as the error; the observations of 
the people were, as usual, correct, but their explanations, 
as usual, false. 

The reason why the object seen in a Nightmare is 
frightful or hideous is simply that the representation of 
the underlying wish is not permitted in its naked form, 
so that the dream is a compromise of the wish on the 
one hand, and on the other of the intense fear be- 
longing to the inhibition. Maury 2 remarks with but 
little exaggeration: 'Le dormeur s'imaginait etre lutine 
par un esprit, oppresse par les impurs embrassements 
d'un demon incube ou succube. . . . L'origine 
de cette croyance s'explique par le fait qu'une sen- 
sation voluptueuse en reve est presque tou jours ac- 
compagnee d'un sentiment desagreable/ Nashe, 3 who 
more than three hundred years ago wrote on 'The 
Terrors of the Night', seems also to have had a prevision 
of the same explanation: 'When Night in her rustie dun- 
geon hath imprisoned our ey-sight, and that we are shut 
seperatly in our chambers from resort, the divell keepeth 
his audit in our sin-guilty consciences, no sense but sur- 
renders to our memorie a true bill of parcels of his de- 
testable impietis. The table of our hart is turned to an 
index of iniquities, and all our thoughts are nothing but 
texts to condemn us. The rest we take in our beds is such 
another kinde of rest as the weerie traveller taketh in 
the coole soft grasse in summer, who thinking there to 

1 Sigm. Freud, Zw Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens, Dritte Auflage, 1910, 
S. 133. a L. F. Alfred Maury; La magie et I'astrologie, 1860, p. 254. 

The Works of Thomas Nashe, 1594, edited by R. B. McKerrow, 1904, vol. i. 
PP- 345. 386. 


lye at ease, and refresh his tyred limmes, layeth his faint- 
ing head unawares on a loathsome neast of snakes. 1 
. . . Therefore are the terrors of the night more than of 
the day, because the sinnes of the night surmount the 
sinnes of the day/ 

To Laistner's interesting attempt to follow the traces 
of the Nightmare motif through a large group of myths 
Wundt 2 has raised an objection which appears logical, 
but which consideration shows to be not important: it is 
that he does not sufficiently distinguish between the 
Nightmare and other forms of anxiety dreams. It is 
therefore necessary to say something about this rela- 
tionship. The Nightmare is only one variety of anxiety 
dream, and the features it has in common with the other 
kinds (dreams of grimacing beings, dreams of being ex- 
amined, pursued, etc.) are more important than those in 
which it differs. The essential difference is that its latent 
content is highly specific and stereotyped. In all cases of 
anxiety dreams the latent content represents the fulfil- 
ment of a repressed sexual wish, usually an incestuous 
one, but, whereas in the Nightmare this always relates to 
the normal sexual act, various perverse sexual wishes 
come to expression in the other forms of anxiety dream. 
An example of the latter would be a dream of a frightful 
attacking animal, expressing the algolagnic combina- 
tion of lust with brutality or cruelty. Referring to the 
myths built on the same basis, Laistner 3 writes: 'Hier 
kommt es uns darauf an, ein fiir allemal anzudeuten, 
dass auch dieser Zug der Alpsagen durchaus den Erfah- 
rungen des Alptraums entspricht und dass es guten 
physiologischen Grund hat, wenn die Sage die bekannte 
Verbindung der Grausamkeit mit der Wollust den Mit- 
tagsgeistern zuschreibt/ ('Here we are concerned to 
point out once for all that this feature also of the Alp 
sagas quite corresponds to the experiences of the Night- 

1 Psycho-analytical readers will observe the interesting Oedipus symbolism 

1 W. Wundt, Volkcrpsychologic, Zweiter Band, Mythus und Religion, Zweiter 
Teil, 1906, S. 122. 

8 L. Laistner, Das Rdtsel der Sphinx, 1889, Bd, i. S. 45. 


mare and that there is a good physiological reason for 
the saga which attributes to the midday spirits the well- 
known combination of cruelty with voluptuousness/) 

As was pointed out in the previous chapter, the dif- 
ferent conceptions of impossible monsters are very sug- 
gestive of a source in the experiences of anxiety dreams. 
This group of ideas is very extensive. 1 The belief in the 
real existence of such monsters has held its own well into 
modern times and cannot yet be said to have died out, 
even amongst civilized nations. 2 

Dreams of grimacing figures (Fratzentraume) are more 
than any others a rich source for the creation of fan- 
tastic human caricatures and the half-human, half- 
animal figures so prominent in mythology. Wundt 3 
writes: 'Wer kann in dem Zwerg das Abbild der vielen 
Traumfratzen mit gewaltigem Kopf und Angesicht, wer 
in den grinsenden Tiermasken vieler Volker und schliess- 
lich noch in dem Gorgonenangesicht der altesten grie- 
chischen Kunst die Ahnlichkeit mit den Gesichtsverzer- 
rungen der Reiztraume verkennen? Dass diese Gattung 
der Traume eine Quelle neben anderen, und dass sie in 
Anbetracht der durch alle Einflusse der Traumvision 
bezeugten intensiven psychischen Wirkung der Traume 
nicht die unbedeutendste ist, kann daher als im hochsten 
Grade wahrscheinlich gelt en/ ('Who can fail to recognize 
in dwarfs the image of the many distorted dream figures 
with enormous heads and countenances, or in the grin- 
ning animal masks of many countries, and finally in the 
Gorgon face of the oldest Greek art the similarity with 
the facial distortions of the dreams due to irritation? It 
is therefore highly probable that this class of dream 
furnishes one source among others, and that, in view of 
the intense psychical effect of these dreams, this source 
is not the least important/) 

We may now summarize the features that constitute 
evidence of ideas originating in anxiety dreams. In the 

1 See, for example, Meyer, op. cit. S. 97. 

1 C. Gould, Mythical Monsters, 1886. See especially ch. ix. "The Sea-Serpent 1 . 

* Wundt, op. cit. S. 116. 


first place the occurrence of anxiety itself accompanying 
a mythical or superstitious conception should at least 
make one think of the possibility of such an origin, for 
although anxiety, of course, occurs elsewhere than in 
dreams still it rarely if ever attains there the grade 
of intensity so common in dreams; further, those subject 
to continual dread are pretty sure to suffer also from 
anxiety dreams. Then the occurrence of transformation, 
especially from human into animal form, makes it very 
probable that the ideas have their source in anxiety 
dreams. This is notably so when we find the transforma- 
tion of a very attractive into an extremely repellent ob- 
ject, a situation frequently met with in both myths and 
dreams. This combination of the two extremes of attrac- 
tion and repulsion, of beauty and hideousness, natur- 
ally represent the two conflicting forces of wish and 
inhibition. The inadequacy of the view that refers such 
dream experiences to variations in gastric activity is 
here particularly evident; as Fiske 1 well says, 'indigestion 
doesn't account for beautiful women in key-holes'. 

Finally, the combination of anxiety with incestuous 
themes would lead one to suspect a relationship of the 
ideas with the experiences of Nightmares, since these 
contain little else. The sadistic view of sexual functions 
which so many children hold explains why the parent so 
often appears in the dream in the symbolic guise of an 
aggressive animal or monster. The remarkably close con- 
nection, mentioned earlier, between totemism and 
ancestor-worship, between the ideas of animal descent 
and the interchangeability of human and animal person- 
alities becomes more comprehensible through psycho- 
analytical knowledge of the symbolism of unconscious 
repressed wishes. 

1 J. Fiske, Myths and Myth-Makers, 1872, p. 95. 



WE have already commented on the interesting 
circumstance, so significant for our sexual 
theory of the Nightmare, that the scientific 
name for this condition in the Middle Ages also denoted 
a lewd demon who visits women at night, lies heavily 
on their chest and violates them against their will. These 
visitors of women were called Incubi (French follets\ 
Spanish duendes\ Italian folletti] German A Ipen); those 
of men were called Succubi (French souleves) . As it runs 
in Caxton's Crony cle (Descrypcion of Wales) 1 : 

That fende that goth a nyght, 
Wymmen full oft to gyle, 
Incubus is named by ryght: 
And gyleth men other whyle, 
Succubus is that wyght. 

The historical roots of this particular conception are 
too numerous to allow of their being traced here. It must 
suffice to say that the central idea itself, the belief that 
sexual intercourse can occur between mortals and super- 
natural beings, is one of the most widespread of human 
beliefs. 2 It is to be found in most religions, from the 
Zoroastrian to modern spiritism; perhaps the most 
familiar examples are the amours of the Greek gods. 
Various renowned people, such as Robert, the father of 
William the Conqueror, Luther, Merlin (born from an 
incubus and a nun, the daughter of Charlemagne), 
Caesar, Alexander the Great, Plato, Scipio Africanus, 
and the whole race of Huns were supposed to have been 
born from such unions, 3 and the whole island of Cyprus 

1 Quoted from J. G. Dalyell, The Darker Superstitions of Scotland, 1835, 
p. 682. 

* Numerous instances of it in different countries and ages may be found in 
H. Freimark, Okkultismus und Sexualitdt, S. 342-348. P. Gener, La Mort et le 
Diable, 1880, p. 340, etc. 

8 Gener, op. cit. pp. 403, 521. R. G. Latham, A Dictionary of the English 
Language, 1882, p. 1240. P. Sinistrari, Demoniality or Incubi and Succubi 
(seventeenth century), English translation, 1879, p. 55. 



to have been populated from the offspring of incubi. 1 At 
the end of the seventeenth century the belief was still 
rife in Scotland, 2 and it has by no means yet died out in 
many parts of Europe. In certain mystical 3 and spirit- 
istic 4 circles, particularly in France and America, it has 
received a new lease of life; the most modern form of it 
would appear to be the notion of conception from the 
fourth dimension. 

The particular form the belief assumed in the Middle 
Ages was mainly due to theological influence, which 
moulded it to its purposes as it did other popular super- 
stitious beliefs. An astonishing amount of the literature 
of this period was taken up with detailed discussions 
concerning the precise activities of these evil spirits. The 
general conception of them was closely connected with 
that of the Devil and his army, so that the subject is 
really a chapter of devil-lore. The Church, following St. 
Augustin, 6 in his famous passage on 'Silvanos et Faunos, 
quos vulgo incubos vocant', regarded Incubi essentially 
as fiends of hell whose function it was to tempt frail 
humanity; in the elaboration of this idea St. Thomas 
Aquinas 6 played an important part. An interestingly 
unorthodox departure was made in the seventeenth cen- 
tury by Peter Sinistrari, 7 who maintained that Incubi 
were not demons, but higher beings intermediate be- 
tween men and angels; they degraded themselves but 
honoured mankind by human contact. 8 Exorcism had 
no influence on them, which was one of the respects in 
which they differed from evil fiends. Sinistrari ingeniously 
reconciled this view with the pronouncements of the 

1 J. Hansen, Zauberwahn, Inquisition und Hexenprozess im Mittelalter, 1900, 
S. 141. 

8 R. Kirk, Secret Commonwealth, 1690, p. 35. 

8 See books like Jules Bois, La Satanisme et la magie, 1895. S. De Guaita, 
Temple de Satan, 1891. Des Mousseaux, Les hauls phenomenes de la magie. 
J. K. Huysmans, Ld-bas, 1890, and En Route, 1895, etc. 

* Freimark, op. cit. S. 335, 364, 368-369, 385. Peixoto, Archivos Brasileires 
de Psychiatric, 1909, pp. 74-94. 

6 Augustini Hipponensis Episcopi De Civitate Dei, 1825 ed., lib. xv. ch. xxiii. 

6 Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica, Pt. I. Quest, 51, Art. 3-6. 

7 Sinistrari, op. cit. pp. 129, 223. 

8 That actually they were derived from the idea of revenants, of souls who 
could not rest in their grave, will be shown in the succeeding chapter. 


Church on the sin of such relations by suggesting that 
those who did not know the true nature of Incubi, but 
believed them to be devils, sinned just as grievously as 
though these spirits really were devils. He was evidently 
of opinion that the essence of sin lay in the belief in the 
sinfulness of the act committed. 

Women seem to have been troubled by these nightly 
visitors more than men, and widows and virgins, more 
particularly nuns, 1 more than married women. Cloisters 
were especially infected by Incubi, and many instances 
have been recorded of epidemics of such visitations. 2 
The theological teachings about the reality of Incubi 
evidently permitted manifestations that otherwise would 
have had to find some other means of expression; Freud 3 
has pointed out how the religious beliefs prevailing in 
the environment must affect the form taken by mani- 
festations of the unconscious, e.g. , in hysterical symptoms. 
A favourite guise assumed by Incubi was the clerical. 
Thus Hieronymus relates the story of a young lady who 
called for help against an Incubus whom her friends then 
found under her bed in the guise of the Bishop Sylvanus; 
the Bishop's reputation would have suffered had he not 
been able to convince them that the Incubus had 
assumed his shape. 4 Reginald Scot 5 comments sceptically 
on this: 'Oh excellent peece of witchcraft wrought by 
Sylvanus!' Chaucer, in The Wife of Bath's Tale', says 
slyly that in his day Incubi had become much rarer since 
the orders of mendicant friars, who, he hints, had re- 
placed them, had been introduced: 

For there as wont to walken was an elf, 

There walketh now the limitour 6 himself, 

1 Freimark, op. cit. S. 349. Gener, op. cit. S. 519. 

2 E. Murisier, Les maladies du sentiment religieux, 1909, p. 49. Ch. Pezet, Con- 
tribution a Vetude de la demonomanie, 1909, p. 18. 

8 See Sigm. Freud, Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, Jahrg. i. S. 7 [Sammlung 
kleiner Schriften zur Neurosenlehre, 1913* 3e Folge, S. 296, Gesammelte S f chrifien t 
Bd. vi. S. 34. Collected Papers, vol. ii. p. 293.] 

4 H. Institoris and J. Sprenger, Malleus Maleficarum t 1487, Part II. Question 
I. Kap. ii. 

Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), 1886 edition, p. 62. 

Begging friar. 


Women may now go safely up and down; 
In every bush, and under every tree, 
There is no other incubus than hee, 
And he ne will dou them no dishonour. 

In the reports of the actual examples of visits by 
Incubi 1 there appears in the most unambiguous way a 
feature which has special significance for the present dis- 
cussion. It is that every possible gradation is to be 
observed between the pleasurable excitement of volup- 
tuousness on the one hand and extreme terror and re- 
pulsion on the other. This variation, and the impossibility 
of demarking it at any point, shows again the intimate 
connection between libido and morbid dread. It forcibly 
reminds one of exactly the same gradation that can be 
observed clinically between erotic dreams and Night- 
mares. Simon 2 shows that the same interchange between 
pleasurable and repellent visions is to be found with 
erotic hallucinations: Tantot le spectre hallucinatoire 
est de forme agr^able; c'est un mari, un amant, une 
femme aimee et, dans ces cas, la sensation 6prouvee par 
Thallucine est voluptueuse. Plus souvent, peut-etre, 
T hallucination visuelle est repoussante: il s'agit du 
demon, de quelque etre difforme, d'une vieille femme a 
1' aspect hideux dont les embrassements sont pomTaliene 
un objet d'horreur; d'images degoutantes, qui poursui- 
vent le malade et qui Tobsedent. Dans ces cas, Thalluci- 
nation genitale consiste en une impression douloureuse, 
a tout le moins, p6nible ou desagreable.' 

Hofler's 3 conclusion, therefore, that the belief in de- 
mons originated in Nightmares, and that in Incubi in 
erotic dreams, is quite intelligible, but it must be remem- 
bered that, just as the two kinds of dream pass into each 
other, so as we shall presently see are the beliefs in 
Devil and Incubus inextricably intertwined. 

In the following passage by Goerres 4 we have a picture 

1 See, for example, the accounts quoted by P. L. Jacob, Curiositts infernales, 

PP- 8 5-97- 

a P. M. Simon, Le monde des reves, 1882, p. 183. 

8 M. H6fler, 'Medizinischer Damonismus', Zcntralblatt ftir Anthropologie, 
1900, Bd. v. S. i. 

4 J. J. von Goerres, cited by J. Delassus, Les incubes et les succubes, 1897, p. 34. 


of Incubus experiences taken from opposite ends of the 
scale just described: 'Tantot ce sont les angoisses de 
1'etouffement, de la paralysie, tantot, au contraire, c'est 
une surexcitation violente des organes sexuels avec la 
sensation du degagement du systme musculaire, quelque 
chose comme le vertige de la vitesse.' The resemblance of 
this passage to a description of dream experiences, or 
rather the identity of the two, hardly needs to be pointed 
out. The following account of the unpleasant variety 
would well pass for a description of a Nightmare; it is 
taken from Laurent-Nagour 1 : De Nogent related that 
his mother had because of her great beauty to sustain 
the onslaught of Incubi. During a sleepless night the de- 
mon 'whose habit it was to invade hearts torn with 
grief appeared in person and, though slumber had not 
yet closed her eyes, almost crushed her with his stifling 
weight. The poor lady could not move or groan or even 
breathe. The servants found their mistress blenched and 
trembling, and she told them of the danger she had been 
threatened by, the traces of which were all too plain. 
The descriptions of the opposite, pleasurable kind of 
visit are common in the accounts of Incubi and need not 
be related in detail; as might be expected, the wooing 
Incubus often assumed the guise of the sleeper's lover, 
or of the absent or missing mate. 2 Most of the reports 
contain an admixture of voluptuous and repellent 
features; pain and disgust also occur often enough. An 
excellent example of the underlying attraction exerted 
by a wicked Incubus is related with fine psychological 
insight by Goerres 3 ; it reminds one of the resistance we 
encounter nowadays on endeavouring to get neurotic 
patients to renounce their symptoms: 'En 1643, je fus 
charge par mes superieurs d'aller exorciser une jeune 
fille de vingt ans qui etait poursuivie par un Incube. Elle 
m'avoua sans detour tout ce que F esprit impur faisait 
avec elle. Je jugeai, d'apres ce qu'elle me dit, que malgre 

1 E. Laurent und P. Nagour, Okkultismus und Liebe, 1903, S. 109. 

2 Brognoli (1650), cited by Delassus, op. cit. p. 20, Freimark, op. cit. S. 352. 
J. Michelet, La Sorcitre, 1863, 3me Edition, p. 108. 

8 Goerres, op. cit. p. 21. 


ses denegations, elle pretait au demon un consentement 
indirect. En effet, elle etait tou jours avertie de ses ap- 
proches par une surexcitation violente des organes 
sexuels; et alors, au lieu d'avoir recours & la priere, elle 
courait k sa chambre et se met t ait sur son lit. J' essay ai 
d'eveiller en elle des sentiments de confiance envers 
Dieu; mais je n'y pus reussir, et elle semblait plutot 
craindre d'etre delivree.' 

It is interesting that the doctrines of the Church ap- 
pear to take into account the same alternation of fearful 
and voluptuous feelings on the occasion of the visits of 
Incubi, for they are concerned with the various attitudes 
on the part of the subjects towards these visits, particu- 
larly in respect of the strength of the resistance they 
manifest. The discussions on this point resemble very 
much a modern juristic investigation into a case of rape. 
The authors of the Malleus Maleficamm, for instance, 
divide such subjects into three classes: '(i) Those who 
voluntarily submit to Incubi, as witches do; (2) those 
whom witches have brought together with Incubi or 
Succubi against their will; and (3) a third class, to which 
certain virgins in particular belong, who are plagued by 
Incubus demons entirely against their will/ 

We may make an interesting contrast between these 
pleasant and unpleasant experiences, with all their inter- 
mediate types, from several points of view. Psychologi- 
cally the matter is, thanks to Freud's investigations, 
very simple. His doctrine of intrapsychic repression 
gives us the full explanation. As was pointed out in the 
preceding chapter, the wishes culminating in unpleasant 
experiences differ from those of the opposite kind merely 
in being subject to internal repression or condemnation, 
so that they are unconscious. Another way of putting 
this is to say that the erotic wishes in question may be 
compatible with the standards of the subject's ego, 
and therefore accepted by it, or not. [In more recent 
terminology one would say that such wishes may be 
either ego-syntonic or ego-dystonic.] The gradual evolu- 
tion of insight into this state of affairs provides a 


curious study in human nature, to which we shall now 

It has been necessary to lay stress on the gradualness 
in the distinction between these two types of wishes, or 
of the experiences they give rise to respectively, and, 
although we have said that certain of these wishes are 
acceptable to the ego, this is, strictly speaking, never 
completely true. That is to say, all erotic wishes without 
exception that disturb sleep have to overcome a certain 
amount of internal opposition, some being, of course, 
more heavily censured than others. Even at the present 
day it is customary for nocturnal emissions to be 
ascribed rather to some 'natural' physical activity on the 
part of the sexual apparatus rather than to any actual 
wishes that set this apparatus in operation. The tend- 
ency has thus always been to avoid any personal respon- 
sibility for nocturnal erotic wishes, even those most 
lightly censured, and to ascribe them to some other 
agency. In the history of mankind we can clearly dis- 
tinguish two stages in this respect. To begin with, the 
dream experiences were ascribed to the action of ex- 
ternal personal agents, such as lewd demons; the wishes 
were, as a psychiatrist would say, projected outwards on 
to other beings. The second stage consisted in project- 
ing the wishes on to various bodily processes, non- 
mental and non-sexual. We are even yet only beginning 
to emancipate ourselves from this form of projection, 
and the medical world in particular shows the greatest 
timidity in making this step. It will further become 
plain that this evolution proceeded earlier in the case 
of those dream wishes that are relatively acceptable 
to the ego than in the case of strongly repressed ones; 
in consequence, superstitious causes demons or in- 
digestion, according to the epoch continued to be 
invoked in explanation of the unpleasant experiences 
later than for the pleasurable and evidently sexual 

We read that 'presque tous les peuples de T Orient ont 
recouru aux incubes et aux succubes dans Implication 


qu'ils ont donn^e des reves d'amour et des pollutions 
nocturnes'. 1 

By the time the Middle Ages were reached, however, 
the opinion was beginning to gain ground, particularly 
among physicians, that nocturnal pollutions had a purely 
physical origin. Gervasius of Tilbury, for instance, 
quotes this as the approved medical view in 1214, though 
he himself appears to believe at the same time both in 
this aetiology and in the existence of lewd Succubi. 2 
Later the curious compromise was reached that up to 
the year 1400 Incubi were supposed to have had inter- 
course with human beings only against the will of the 
latter, but that after this date the appearance of a race 
of lecherous witches, led to people giving themselves 
voluntarily to the Incubi. 8 It is apparent that, just when 
people were beginning to emancipate themselves from 
the belief in hallucinated beings in connection with erotic 
dreams and retaining the belief only in connection with 
Nightmares, a theological elaboration of the Incubus 
concept re-animated the ancient belief that the partner 
in a sexual dream was an actual being. 

A neat description of the conflict, with more than a 
hint of dawning insight, may be quoted from an old play 
of the early seventeenth century. 4 In it Ursula speaks: 
'I have heard you say that dreames and visions were 
fabulous; and yet one time I dreamt fowle water ran 
through the floore, and the next day the house was on 
fire. You us'd to say hobgoblins, fairies, and the like, 
were nothing but our owne affrightments, and yet o' my 
troth, cuz, I once dream'd of a young batchelour, and 
was ridd with the night-mare. But come, so my con- 
science be cleere, I never care how fowle my dreames are/ 

Even the bigoted royal author, King James I, at a 
still earlier date shows signs of a certain amount of 

1 Gener, op. cit. p. 520. 

* Cited by J. Hansen, op. cit, S. 138, Gervasius of Tilbury, Oiia imperialia, 
SS. rerum Brunsvicensium i. 897 et seq. and lib. iii. cap. 93. 

* Reginald Scot, op. cit. p. 58. 

4 W. Sampson, The Vow-Breaker, or The Fair Maide of Clifton, 1636, Act 3, 
Scene i. 


insight 1 : 'Philomates: Is it not the thing which we call the 
Mare, which takes folkes sleeping in their beds, a kinde 
of these spirits, whereof ye are speaking? 

'Epistemon: No, that is but a naturall sickenesse, which 
the Mediciners have given that name of Incubus unto, 
ab incubando, because it being a thicke fleume, falling 
into our breast upon the heart, while we are sleeping, 
intercludes so our vitall spirits, and takes all power from 
us, as makes us think that there were some unnaturall 
burden or spirit, lying upon us, and holding us downe/ 

At one of the meetings of the Bureau d'adresse* in 
1656 the view was taken by several physicians that the 
belief in Incubi was merely a product of a voluptuous 
imagination; according to one, Incubi were 'produites 
par Tabondance ou la qualite de la semence, laquelle, 
envoyant son espece dans la phantaisie, elle se forme un 
objet agreable, remue la puissance me trice, et celle-ci la 
faculte expulstrice des vaisseaux spermatiques'. De 
Saint -Andre, 3 Louis XV's physician, considered their 
origin to be partly in the supposed imagination, partly in 
invented excuses for illicit relations: X'incube est le plus 
sou vent une chimere, qui n'a pour fondement que le 
reve, Timagination blessee, et tres souvent Timagination 
des femmes. . . . L' artifice n'a pas moins de part a 
Thistoire des incubes. Une femme, une fille, une devote 
de nom, etc., debauchee, qui affecte de paraitre virtueuse, 
pour cacher son crime fait passer son amant pour un 
esprit incube qui Tobsede/ Later writers have confirmed 
this, and have pointed out in addition the psychopathic 
nature of the belief. According to Dalyell 4 'the presence 
of the Incubi and Succubi denotes amorous illusions 
only'. Delassus, 5 who insists on the sexual nature of the 
whole subject, says that the morbid appearance of an 
Incubus demonstrates 'la victoire de Lilith et de 

1 King James I., Daemonologie, Third Book, chap. iii. 'The description of a 
perticular sort of that kinde of following spirit, called Incubi and Succubi.' 

2 Recueil general des questions traiUs et conference du Bureau d'adresse. 

8 De Saint- Andre*, Lettres au sujet de la magie, des maUfices et des sorciers, 1725. 

4 J. G. Dalyell, The Darker Superstitions of Scotland, 1835, p. 599. 

5 Delassus, op. cit. pp. 39, 41, 51. 


Nahemah, les reines des Stryges, sur les imprudents qui 
ont voulu rester chastes, qui ont voulu m^priser les 
verites 6ternelles du lingam'. 

Later authors have laid stress on the morbid nature of 
the phenomenon. Macario 1 writes: 'Les succubes et les 
incubes sont des malades atteints d ; hallucinations de la 
sensibilit6 genitale/ Morel, 2 in 1860, states: 'C'est dans 
cette categorie de malades hysterico-religieuses que Ton 
observe particulierement les idees delirantes a propos 
d'obsessions demoniaques, de succubes et d'incubes, le 
terme hyperesthesia psychica sexualis semble particu- 
lierement leur convenir/ Dagonet, 3 in 1876, describes 
the subject under the term erotomania. Leuret, 4 nearly 
a hundred years ago, clearly saw the analogy between 
these beliefs of the Middle Ages and the hallucinations of 
the insane. He illustrated this by a detailed comparison 
of one of his patients at the Salpetriere with a woman 
from whom St. Bernard exorcised evil spirits: 'Les hallu- 
cinations ont entre elles une si grande analogic, que les 
etres crees par elles different seulement dans les acces- 
soires; les descriptions qu'en donnent actuellement nos 
alienes ressemblent aux descriptions que donnaient autre- 
fois les saints et les possedes; ... les noms seuls different. 
Ainsi, pour savoir tout ce qui concerne les incubes, il 
suffit d'ecouter un de ces malades qui se plaignent de les 
recevoir pendant la nuit. Les incubes sont et font encore 
tout ce qu'ils etaient et faisaient jadis/ 

It will be noted that in contrast to the other super- 
stitious ideas here being treated, the idea of transforma- 
tion plays no part in the Incubus idea. The reason for 
this is very simple and shows very well the artificial 
nature of the whole conception. The idea of transforma- 
tion is to be found in the Middle Ages, both in the 
theological concept of the Devil and in the popular idea 
of lewd demons (German Alp), but the Church artificially 

1 M. A. Macario, 'litudes cliniques sur la dSmonomanie', Annales mtdico- 
psychologiques, 1843, t. i. p. 441. 

2 Morel, quoted by Pezet, op. cit. p. 54. 

8 H. Dagonet, quoted by Pezet, op. cit. p. 54. 

4 F. Leuret, Fragments psychologiques sur la folie, 1834, pp. 258, 261-264. 


defined an Incubus as a demon in human form. When he 
appeared as an animal he was another kind of devil and 
no longer an Incubus, The popular equivalent of the 
Incubus and Succubus, however, e.g., the Alp and Mara, 
constantly appeared in animal guise. 

* * * * * 

The most perfect manifestation of the erotic wishes 
that have been most fully brought into harmony with 
the standards of the ego is where the nightly visitor was 
believed to be not merely not an evil spirit but actually 
a divine being. It is comprehensible that such experi- 
ences, to which we have already referred in Chapter I, 
should be both approved and sought after. In this con- 
nection special mention may be made of the interesting 
practice known as Incubation or Temple-Sleep (incu- 
batio, evKoifirjaw), for, although this was not a pecul- 
iarly mediaeval idea, still it lasted throughout the Middle 
Ages, and it affords an instructive counterpart to the 
Incubus belief. In fact, as Wundt 1 truly remarks, the 
very similarity of the terms Incubus and Incubation 
point to an inherent relationship between the two con- 
ceptions. The subject has an additional value for our 
present purpose through its close association with an- 
cestor worship and the idea of animal transformation. 

The procedure of Incubation has been most exten- 
sively investigated in relation to Greece and Rome, but 
it is a world-spread practice. Thus it has been found in 
Central America, 2 North Africa, 3 Australia, 4 Borneo, 6 
China, 6 India, 7 Persia, 8 etc. Several different practices 
have been included under the designation Incubation. 

1 W. Wundt, Volkerpsychologie, Bd. ii. Teil ii. 1906, S. no. 

* Antonio de Herrera, Historia general de los hechos de los Castellanos en las 
islas y terra firma del Mar Octane, 1730, vol. iv. ch. iv. 

8 G. Nachtigal, Sahara und Sudan, 1889, Bd. iii. S. 477. 

* Sir George Grey, Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in North-West 
and Western Australia, 1841, vol. ii. p. 336. 

5 H. Ling Roth, The Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo 1806 
vol. i. p. 185. ' 

6 O. Stoll, Suggestion und Hypnotismus in der Vdlker psychologic, Zweite 
Auflage, 1904, S. 51, 52. 6 

' J. A. Dulaure, Die Zeugung in Glaube, Sitte und Brauch der Volker, 1908 
S. 45. 50, 80. y ' 

8 Voyages d'Ibn Batoutah t traduction fran9aise, 1873, t. i. p. 418. 


The most typical is the union of a person with a god or 
goddess during sleep in the sacellum of the temple, a 
custom of which the main source seems to have been in 
Egypt. Others are union with a departed being during 
sleep on his grave, Grdberschlaf, or with various spirits 
during sleep near holy wells or springs, a custom chiefly 
developed in Greece. 

Several functions were subserved by the practice. 
From the idea of close connection with the Godhead de- 
veloped the custom of assuring divine protection either 
through the union of men with goddesses, as, for ex- 
ample, with Isis in Egypt and Rome, 1 with Seraphis in 
Egypt, Rome and Canopaea, 2 with Diana in Ephesus, 3 
and with Ino in Sparta, 4 or through the sacred prostitu- 
tion of women to the gods, as to Vishnu in India, 5 to 
Bel 6 and Shamash 7 in Babylon, to Ammon in the 
Egyptian Thebes, 8 and elsewhere. 

It is probable that the inner meaning of the practice 
always was the wish to secure sexual capacity and fer- 
tility among those in need of it. It characteristically pre- 
sents itself, therefore, as a device for remedying im- 
potence or sterility, or the innumerable afflictions that 
symbolize these. This meaning is plain to see in connec- 
tion with the most renowned of all the Incubation cults, 
that of Aesculapius. Towards the end of its vogue 
his cult had spread from its source in Epidauros to 
some three hundred and twenty sites. The cure of 
sterility was one of the central features of this cult. Thus 
to cite only two well-known examples: Andromache of 
Epirus visited Epidauros on account of sterility; in a 

1 Alice Walton, 'Cornell Studies in Classical Philology', Number 3, The Cult 
of Asklepios, pp. 63, 74. 

1 L. Preller, Berichte u. d. Verhandl. d. Kdnigl. Sachs. Gesell. d. Wissen- 
schaften zu Leipzig, 1854, S. 196. 

8 Th. Puschmann, Handbuch der Geschichte der Medizin, 1901. 

4 Pausanias, Attika t cap. 21. 

5 Dulaure, loc. cit. 

Cullimore, Oriental Cylinders, Numbers 71, 76, 109. J. G. Frazer, Lectures 
on the Early History of the Kingship , 1905, p. 170. 

7 C. H. W. Johns, 'Notes on the Code of the Hammurabi', American Journal 
of Semitic Languages, 1903, vol. xix. p. 98. 

8 Cullimore, loc. cit. Frazer, loc. cit. 


dream the god lifted up her dress and touched her abdo- 
men, an experience that resulted in the birth of a son. 1 
Andromeda of Chios in the same circumstahces was 
visited by the god in the form of a snake who lay on her; 
she bore five sons. 2 

The connection between Aesculapius and serpent wor- 
ship was exceedingly close. Serpents were not only sacred 
in his temples, but actually represented the god 3 ; in the 
year 293 B.C. an enormous snake was brought to Rome 
as an indication that Aesculapius had extended his 
patronage to the city. Many famous men were born of 
the serpent-god, e.g., Aratus of Sicyon, Alexander the 
Great, Augustus (the snake here represented Apollo, the 
father of Aesculapius), Aristomenes, Publius Scipio the 
Elder, etc. 4 It is well known that the Serpent God is one 
of the commonest objects of worship over the whole 
world. 6 Even the gods of more cultivated societies often 
make their appearance in this form, especially when en- 
gaged on love adventures; thus Apollo seduced Atys as 
a serpent (leaving in memory of his visit a correspond- 
ing mark on her body), just as Zeus seduced Persephone 
and Odin Gunnlodh. The circumstances in which the 
gods assumed this guise provide us with the key for the 
understanding of snake symbolism and that this is a 
phallic one is too well attested to need dwelling on here. 6 

It is of especial interest that the serpent symbolizes 
not simply the male member in general, but particu- 
larly the male member of the father. One of the most 
widely spread superstitions in the whole world is to the 
effect that snakes are the incarnation of deceased an- 

1 Mary Hamilton, Incubation, or the Cure of Disease in Pagan Temples and 
Christian Churches, 1906, p. 25. 

2 Mary Hamilton, op. cit. p. 27. 

8 See especially Puschmann, op. cit. S. 169. Alice Walton, op. cit. pp. 13-16, 
65. 91- 

4 L. Deubner, De Incubatione, 1900, S. 33. 

8 Compare J. B. Deane, The Worship of the Serpent, 1883. H. C. Du Bose, The 
Dragon, Image and Demon, 1886. J . Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship, Second 
Edition, 1872. C. Howard, Sex Worship, 1902, ch. viii. 'The Serpent and the 
Cross'. G. Staniland Wake, Serpent Worship, 1888. 

6 F. Riklin, Wunscherfullung und Symbolik im Marchen, 1908, S. 40-44. 
A. J. Storfer, Zur Sonderstellung des Vatermordes, 1911, S. 30, 31. 


cestors, 1 a fact which in itself brings snake-worship and 
ancestor- worship into close association. A product of it 
is the belief in individual house snakes which desert the 
house when its male members particularly the father 
die. 2 The idea is closely connected with the belief that 
the soul leaves a sleeper in the form of a snake which 
escapes through the mouth. 3 This symbolism and the 
recognizably chthonic origin in general of such gods as 
Aesculapius 4 form a connecting link between the ideas 
of snakes and graves, snake worship and ancestor wor- 
ship, and the practices of sleeping in temples or on 

Incubation thus became an important method of cur- 
ing sterility, and Aesculapius* gift in this respect was in- 
herited later by a number of Christian saints, notably 
the Archangel Michael, St. Damien and St. Hubert 5 ; the 
activity of the last mentioned is to be traced in the 
Ardennes as late as the seventeenth century. This cure 
of disease by Incubation known as oneiromancy was 
practised in Scotland 6 and Ireland 7 to an even later date, 
and it is interesting to note that here the person slept 
in the skin of a sacrificed sheep, just as the worshippers 
of Ammon did in Thebes, 8 or those of Amphiarus in 
Attica. 9 In a Welsh church in Monmouthshire recourse 
was still had to this practice in the nineteenth century. 10 

1 J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, Third Edition, Part iv. (Adonis, Attis, 
Osiris, second edition), 1907, pp. 76, 77. E. S. Hartland, Primitive Paternity, 
1909, vol. i. p. 169 et seq. Wundt, op. cit. S. 61-64. 

* Andrew Lang, Myth, Ritual and Religion, vol. i. p. 57. E. H. Meyer, 
Germanische Mythologie, 1891, S. 63, 64, 73. C. L. Rochholtz, Deutscher Glaube 
und Brauch, 1867, Bd. i. (Deutscher Unsterblichkeitsglaube), S. 146, 147. 
A. Wuttke, Der deutsche V oik saber glaube der Gegenwart, 1900, S. 51. 

8 J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, Viertc Ausgabe, 1876, Nachtrag S. 247, 
312. B. Thorpe, Northern Mythology, 1851, vol. i. p. 289. 

* Puschmann, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 170. 

6 L. F. A. Maury, La magie et lastrologie, 1860, pp. 247, 248, 251. 

6 Th. Pennant, A Tour in Scotland and Voyage to the Hebrides in 1772, vol. i. 
p. 311, in John Pinkerton's 'Voyages and Travels', vol. iii. M. Martin, A 
Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, p. 3, in John Pinkerton's op. cit. 
vol. iii. 

7 J. Richardson, The Folly of Pilgrimages, 1727, p. 70. 

8 Herodotus, li. par. 42. 

9 Pausanias, i. cap. 34. 

10 Howell Rees, 'The Cure of Disease by Inc Ation', British Medical Journal, 
Oct. 30, 1909, p. 1317. 


In the Middle Ages three changes were gradually 
introduced into the practice of Incubation: (i) Union 
in sleep was replaced by prayers to the God, Goddess or 
Saint. (2) More importance was attached to holy wells 
and springs to which the pilgrimage took place than to 
the simpler sacred places, groves, etc. This change was 
doubtless determined by the close unconscious connec- 
tion between the ideas of water and childbirth. 1 Up to 
the present day holy wells are the object of adoration 
throughout Scotland 2 and in many other parts of Europe. 
(3) The cure of impotence or sterility has been generalized 
to that of other defects, particularly such as are associ- 
ated with these ideas in the unconscious (paralysis, 
blindness, lameness, etc.). The modern pilgrims of 
Lourdes would be astonished to know how much their 
pilgrimages have to do with ideas dating from the in- 
cestuous wishes of the Ancient Greeks. 

Finally, Incubation was practised as a means of 
divining the future or of procuring inspiration. A well- 
known example of the latter was the inspiration of a 
tragedy that Aeschylus received from Bacchus in a 
dream. In Ireland the choice of a king depended on the 
intimations received during Incubation. 3 

The connection between the Nightmare and Incuba- 
tion, particularly in its original form, is too clear to need 
any lengthy discussion. Wundt 4 writes: 'In der Tat lassen 
sich alle diese, der Inkubation im weitesten Sinne zuge- 
horigen Tatsachen auf zwei einander in mancher Bezie- 
hung verwandte Ausgangspunkte zuriickverfolgen; auf 
den Angsttraum und auf den Krankheitsanfall.' ('Actu- 
ally all these facts to do with Incubation can be traced 
to two starting-points which have much in common: to 
anxiety dreams and to attacks of illness/) It is to be 
noted, however, that the dreams exercising the greatest 
influence in this direction must have stood in the middle 
between pure Nightmares and pure erotic dreams, i.e. 

1 See Otto Rank, Der Mythus von der Geburt des Helden, 1909, S. 69, 70. 
* Sir Arthur Mitchell, The Past in the Present, 1880, p. 276. 
8 E. O'Curry, On the Manner &nnd Customs of the Ancient Irish. 1873, vol. ii. 
P. 199. Wundt, he. cit. 


dreams containing an admixture of anxious and pleasur- 
able feelings. 

The prominent part taken by serpents in the original 
Incubation may be adduced in favour of this conclusion, 
since snake symbolism is highly characteristic of dream 
processes. Artemidoros seems to have had an inkling of 
its significance in his saying, 'When a snake pursues any- 
one during sleep he should be on his guard against 
wicked women'. 1 This may be compared with the Bran- 
denburg proverb, 'Wenn man eine Schlange mit ins Bett 
nimmt, hat man viel Gliick 1 ('If one takes a snake with 
him to bed he will be very lucky'), or the Oldenburg 2 
saying: 'Wenn Schlangen in den Leib eines Menschen 
hineingehext werden, so driicken sie das Herz/ ('When 
snakes are bewitched into someone they press on the 
heart/) Incubation is by no means the only example of 
a belief that takes its origin from the occurrence of 
snakes in anxiety dreams. Laistner 3 , for example, in one 
of the chapters he has devoted to 'Die Alpschlange' has 
considered in detail the part played by these snakes in 
those Teutonic myths and superstitious ideas origin- 
ating in the Nightmare. 

In conclusion, we may say that in the Incubus- 
Incubation group of ideas we have an excellent example 
for a set of beliefs that have not merely acquired their 
outer guise from the experiences of the Nightmare, but 
the latent content of which is also identical with that of 
the Nightmare: that is to say, it consists of an imaginary 
fulfilment of certain repressed wishes for sexual inter- 
course, especially with the parents. The beliefs in 
question are evidently determined by attempts to ward 
off the sense of guilt accompanying these wishes (i.e. by 
projecting them on to the Incubus) or the resulting 
punishment [e.g., by curing impotence through the iso- 
pathic principle 4 of Incubation.] 

1 Wuttke, op. cit. S. 115. * Wuttke, op. cit. S. 116. 

1 L. Laistner, Das RZtsel der Sphinx. 1889, Bd. i. Kap. 17, S. 83-108. 
4 [Ernest Jones, 'Fear, Guilt and Hate 1 , International Journal of Psycho- 
Analysis, vol. ix. footnote p. 386.] 



NONE of the group of beliefs here dealt with is 
richer or more over-determined than that in the 
Vampire, nor is there one that has more numer- 
ous connections with other legends and superstitions. 
Its psychological meaning is correspondingly compli- 
cated, and in the analysis of it we shall proceed from its 
most typical form. It may be said at the outset that the 
latent content of the belief yields plain indications of most 
kinds of sexual perversions, and that the belief assumes 
various forms according as this or that perversion is more 

Webster's International Dictionary defines a Vampire 
as: 'A blood-sucking ghost or re-animated body of a dead 
person; a soul or re-animated body of a dead person 
believed to come from the grave and wander about by 
night sucking the blood of persons asleep, causing their 
death.' The Century Dictionary describes a Vampire as: 
'A kind of spectral body which, according to a super- 
stition existing among the Slavic and other races on the 
Lower Danube, leaves the grave during the night and 
maintains a semblance of life by sucking the warm 
blood of men and women while they are asleep. Dead 
wizards, werewolves, heretics and other outcasts be- 
come vampires, as do also the illegitimate offspring of 
parents themselves illegitimate, and anyone killed by a 
vampire/ According to Horst 1 : 'Ein Vampyr-Gespenst 
ist eine verstorbene, im Grab fortlebende Person, welche 
des Nachts aus dem Grab hervorgeht, um den Leben- 
digen das Blut auszusaugen, wodurch sie ihren in der 
Erde liegenden Korper im Wachstum und bei vollkom- 
menem Wohlseyn erhalt und vor der Verwesung be- 
schiitzt'. ('A Vampire is a deceased person who continues 

1 G. C. Horst, Zauber-Bibliothek, 1821, Erster Theil, S. 252. 


PT. ii CH. iv THE VAMPIRE 99 

to live in the grave; which he leaves, however, by night 
for the purpose of sucking the blood of the living; he is 
thereby nourished and maintained in good condition, 
and is thus preserved from decomposition/) 

The two essential characteristics of a true Vampire are 
thus his origin in a dead person and his habit of sucking 
blood from a living one, usually with fatal effect. It will 
be expedient to treat them first separately. 

Interest of the living in the dead, whether in the body 
or in the spirit, is an inexhaustible theme, only a small 
part of which can be considered here. A continued rela- 
tion between the living and dead may be regarded in 
two ways, and each of these from the obverse and re- 
verse. On the one hand it may be desired, and this may 
result either in the living being drawn to the dead or in 
the dead being drawn back to the living; on the other 
hand it may be feared, which may also have the same 
two effects. In the Ghoul idea a living person visits the 
body of the dead; the Vampire idea is more elab- 
orate, for here the dead first visits the living and then 
draws him into death, being re-animated himself in the 

We shall see that several different emotions love, 
guilt and hate impel towards a belief in the idea of re- 
union with the dead and in the idea with which we are 
particularly concerned, that of the return of the dead 
from the grave. The simplest case of all is where some- 
one longs for the return of a dear lost one, but the greater 
part of our present problem is taken up with various 
motives that are supposed to actuate a dead person to 
return to the living. This latter group is so firmly bound 
up with the point of view of the corpse that it sometimes 
needs an effort to remember that they can only repre- 
sent ideas projected on to him from the minds of the 
living. In this process, as so commonly with projection, 
the mechanism of identification is mostly at work; it is 
as though the living person whose unconscious wishes 
have been exemplified by the life and conduct of the 
recently deceased felt that if he were dead he would not 


be able to rest in his grave and would be impelled by 
various motives to return. 

We shall divide into two broad groups the motives 
urging to re-union, and particularly to return from the 
grave: they may be called love and hate respectively. 

That Love should concern itself with the re-union of 
parted lovers, even when the parting has been brought 
about by death, is natural enough. The derivatives of 
this theme, however, prove on examination to be unex- 
pectedly complex. To begin with, the wish for the re- 
union may be expressed directly on the part of the living 
or it may be ascribed by projection to the dead. We 
shall consider first the former of these. The simplest ex- 
pression of this is the aching longing to meet once more 
the lost one, a wish commonly gratified in dreams, 
which reaches its greatest intensity between lovers, 
married partners or children and parents. Turning from 
everyday life, we can at once think of various deriva- 
tives of this fundamental wish. There are the numerous 
incantation practices for conjuring up the dead which 
are to be found in all parts of the world, and again the 
extensive part this theme plays in mythology, of which 
we may cite as an example the legend of Orpheus bring- 
ing back Eurydice from the underworld. In modern 
times the wish, or belief, has often assumed a more 
abstract form, such as, for example, re-union with the 
departed by means of telepathy or through a medium. 
Incidentally it is of interest to observe in the present 
connection that Goerres, 1 in a special chapter on his 
subject of Christian Mysticism, ascribes Vampirism to 
occult exteriorization and telepathy, 

As has been said, the wish for re-union is often ascribed 
to the dead by the mechanism of projection. It is then 
believed that they feel an overpowering impulse to re- 
turn to the loved ones whom they had left. The deepest 
source of this projection is doubtless to be found in the 
wish that those who have departed should not forget us, 
a wish that ultimately springs from childhood memories 

1 J. J. von Goerres, Die christliche Mystik, 1836-42. 


of being left alone by the loved parent. The belief that 
the dead can visit their loved ones, especially by night, 
is met with over the whole world. 1 It has always been a 
fruitful theme for mythology and literature; one thinks, 
for instance, of the various versions of the Lenore legend 
or of Goethe's Bride of Corinth of which Hock 2 has 
made the interesting suggestion that it was evoked by 
a childhood memory and of endless other examples, of 
which I will quote a short poem by Heine 8 : 

Mir traumte von einem KonigskincT, 
Mit nassen, blassen Wangen; 
Wir sassen unter der griinen Lind 1 , 
Und hielten uns liebumfangen. 

'Ich will nicht deines Vaters Thron, 
Und nicht sein Zepter von Golde, 
Ich will nicht seine demantene Kron', 
Ich will dich selber, du Holde'. 

'Das kann nicht sein', sprach sie zu mir, 
'Ich liege ja im Grabe, 
Und nur des Nachts komm' ich zu dir, 
Weil ich so lieb dich habe 1 . 

(A king's child in my dream I see, 
On her cheeks are her tears' traces. 
We sit under the linden tree 
Locked close in love's embraces. 

'I do not want your father's throne 
Nor his sceptre, his crown or his treasure. 
I want but thee and thee alone, 
For I love thee beyond measure'. 

'That cannot be', she said to me, 
Tor I'm dead and the earth is my cover, 
And but at night I come to thee 
Because I love my lover'.) 

1 Numerous examples are quoted by S. Hock, Die Vampirsagen und ihre 
Verwertung in der deutschen Literatur, 1900, S. 10 ; and P. L. Jacob, Curiositts 
infernales, pp. 312-331. * Hock, op. cit. S. 69-81. 

8 Compare Z. Werner: 'Liebe bannt des Todes Not' ('Love banishes the pain 
of death'), Sdmtliche Werkc, Bd. viii. S. 164, and F. Hebbel, 'Jeder Tote 1st 
ein Vampir, die ungeliebten ausgenommen' ('All dead are vampires, except 
the unloved ones'), Tagebticher, 1887, Bd. ii. S. 73. 


We evidently have here a reason why Vampires 
always visit relatives first, particularly their married 
partners, a feature on which most descriptions dwell. 1 
Widows can become pregnant as the result of such 
visits. 2 This happened, for example, in the celebrated 
Meduegya epidemic, 8 and the possibility is still believed 
in, e.g., in Albania. It was, in fact, the custom in a Vam- 
pire epidemic to institute the first enquiries with the 
widow of whoever was thought to be the Vampire. 4 
Krauss 5 tells us: 'Es hat sich der Fall schon sehr oft 
ereignet, dass bei einem grosseren Sterben im Dorf das 
Weib eines kiirzlich verstorbenen Mannes von den Dorf- 
bewohnern misshandelt wurde, bis sie eingestand, dass 
ihr Mann sie besuche und sie das Versprechen gab, sie 
werde ihn bestimmen, die Leute nicht zu morden/ (The 
case has often happened that after a number of deaths in 
a village the wife of a recently deceased man has been 
maltreated until she confessed that her husband was 
visiting her and promised to persuade him not to murder 
people/) The resemblance to the Incubus belief is strik- 
ing, even to the detail of the event being believed to 
depend on the woman's wishes. 

Plainly there must be a reason why the wish for re- 
union should here be expressed by the circuitous method 
of projection instead of quite simply. The evidence goes 
to show that this reason is a sense of guilt on the part of 
the living. This also is projected on to the dead. It is be- 
lieved that certain dead people cannot rest in the grave. 
As we shall see, there are several grounds for this, but 
we are at the moment concerned only with the one of 
sexual guilt. It is felt that because of this the dead per- 
son cannot rest in the grave and is impelled to try to 
overcome it by the characteristic method of defiantly 

1 Numerous examples are cited by Hock, op. cit. S. 24, 37, 43. See also 
J. N. Sepp, Orient und Occident, 1903, S. 268. 

* J. J. Hanush, 'Die Vampyre', Zeitschrift far deutsche Mythologie und 
Sittenkunde, Jahrg. iv. S. 200. 

8 Horst, op. cit. S. 277. 

4 B. Stern, Medizin, Aberglaube und Geschlechtsleben in der Turkei, 1903, 
Bd. i. S. 364, 365. 

6 F. S. Krauss, Slavische Volksforschungen, 1908, S. 130. 



demonstrating that he can commit the forbidden acts. 
We are, of course, speaking of an unconscious guiltiness, 
which, paradoxically enough, is most acute in the pre- 
sence of what is socially and legally the most permitted 
love object, the married partner, manifesting itself here 
in the form of marital unhappiness or even actual im- 
potence. Psycho-analysis has shown unequivocally that 
this unconscious guiltiness owes its origin to infantile 
incestuous wishes that have been only imperfectly over- 
come in the course of development, and we shall pre- 
sently indicate an interesting feature in the Vampire 
superstition which confirms this conclusion. 

The idea of the dead not being able to rest has become 
inextricably bound up with the belief that such bodies 
cannot decompose, and this has played a most important 
part in the various practices to do with Vampires. It 
was, and is, firmly held that if the grave in question is 
opened the presence of a Vampire can be recognized by 
finding the body in a state of disorder, with red cheeks, 
tense skin, charged blood-vessels, warm blood, growing 
hair and nails, and with the left eye open; 1 in the worst 
cases the grave itself is bespattered with blood, doubt- 
less from the last victim. Some of these features, such as 
that concerning the hair and nails, are common after 
death. The others relate to cases of delayed decom- 
position that occur in various circumstances and which 
are familiar enough to medical jurisprudence; the causa- 
tion is a purely medical question into which I do not 
propose to enter here. Unfortunately the Greek Ortho- 
dox Church it is said in a spirit of opposition to the 
Roman Catholic pronouncement that the bodies of 
saints do not decompose supported the dogma that it 
is the bodies of wicked, unholy, and especially excom- 
municated, persons which do not decompose. Just as the 
Roman Catholic Church taught that heretics could be 
turned into Werewolves, the Greek Orthodox Church 
taught that heretics became Vampires after death. It 
seems probable, however, that the connection between 

1 A. Wuttke, Der deutsche Volksaberglaube der Gegenwart, 1900, S. 479. 


the ideas of decomposition and innocence is a more 
ancient and deeply seated one. Successful decomposi- 
tion, and the reduction of the corpse to a state of sim- 
plicity and purity, signified that the dead person was at 
rest in the earth and that his soul was at peace; in psycho- 
analytical language, the incestuous re-union with the 
Mother Earth is permitted only when purified of sin. 
Endless ties bind the relatives to the dead person until 
this consummation is achieved, for which the Greek 
Church fixed the artificial period of forty days; the best 
known are those to do with providing food and drink 
for the corpse. Now it is of special interest that not only 
was the dead person unable to rest in a guilty state, but 
the Earth herself refused to receive him and cast him 
forth. Agathias, in his Historia, even relates a story 
where the dead person himself explained why the earth 
had refused to receive his body by admitting that he 
had committed incest with his mother. We know that 
actual incest is rare enough, but that the wish for it is 
the primordial sin from which all others are derived. 
[Even to-day in Greece many of the usual imprecations 
refer to this belief. The following selection is quoted from 
Summers, as also the passage afterwards: 'May the earth 
not receive him'; 'May the ground not consume him 1 ; 
'May the earth not digest thee'; 'May the black earth 
spew thee up'; 'Mayest thou remain incorrupt'; 'May the 
earth not loose thee'; which is to say may the body not 
decompose; 'May the ground reject thee'; 'Mayest thou 
become in the grave like rigid wood'; 'May the ground 
reject him wholly'. . . . Since even the curse uttered by 
a man in moments of anger and impatience may have 
such terrible effects, in Greece it is necessary that there 
should be some expedient which may dissipate and dis- 
pel the forces to which these words have given an im- 
petus capable of producing the most serious and ^hor- 
rible results. Accordingly at a Greek death-bed there is 
carried out a certain ritual to attain this end. A vessel 
of water is brought to the bedside and he throws into it 
a handful of salt, and when this is dissolved the sick man 


sprinkles with the lymph all those who are present, say- 
ing: 'As this salt dissolves so may my curses dissolve/ 
This ceremony absolves all persons whom he may have 
cursed in his lifetime from the evil of a ban which after 
death he would no longer be able to revoke.] 

Guilty sexual wishes are not the only ones that are 
projected on to the dead, nor are they the only reason 
for the supposed unrest in the grave. We shall therefore 
have to return to this important theme later to gain a 
more complete picture of it after dealing with the other 
reasons for the unrest. Before doing this, however, we 
have to consider some further derivatives of the wish 
for re-union based on love. 

In contrast with the wish for re-union with the dead 
there is the equally pronounced dread of such a contin- 
gency, and this indeed is much the more familiar of the 
two attitudes. The thought of meeting a ghost evokes 
apprehension far more readily than curiosity or interest. 
As Hock 1 very truly says: 'Allen Menschenrassen ge- 
meinsam ist die Furcht vor ihren Toten/ ('Fear of their 
dead is common to all races of mankind/) There has in 
consequence been developed a quite extraordinary num- 
ber of rituals in connection with burial the object of 
which is to prevent such possibilities, and many of these 
are still employed at the present day. 2 Many of these, 
which will be mentioned later, are devised with the 
specific prophylactic purpose of preventing the dead 
returning in Vampire form. 

Now fear of the dead has two deep sources both of 
which originate in childhood. The first, with which we 
are concerned at present, is derived from love, the second 
from hate. As these two emotional attitudes so often 
occur together, even in respect of the same person, it is 
not always easy to distinguish between the manifesta- 
tions of them. Love itself does not give rise to fear when 
it is free and fully accepted by the ego. It gives rise to 

1 Hock, op. cit. S. i. 

* M. D. Conway, Demonology and Devil-Lore, 1879, vol. i. pp. 52, 53. Hock, 
op. cit. S. i. Wuttke, op. cit. S. 480. 


fear, however, when it is guilty and repressed: one of the 
most important of Freud's discoveries was that morbid 
dread always signifies repressed sexual wishes. 1 Further, 
we know from psycho-analysis that the replacement of 
repressed sexuality by fear is a process brought about 
by the persistence in the unconscious of the unsolved in- 
cest conflicts of infancy. This also explains the constant 
association of sadism and fear in such beliefs, dreams, 
etc., for the infantile conception of sexuality is always 
sadistic in nature. Three changes thus take place in the 
original wish: (i) love reverts to sadism, (2) the event is 
feared instead of desired, and (3) the individual to whom 
the wish relates is replaced by an unknown being. Even 
the idea of Death itself may be used to represent this 
unknown being: dying is often depicted as an attack by 
a ruthless person who overpowers one against one's will. 
The sexual idea itself may or may not appear in the con- 
scious belief or fear; it is often concealed by a general 
apprehension that the creature may throttle one or do 
some vaguely dreadful thing to one. We are thus led to 
a large group of myths and superstitious ideas in which 
the revenant inflicts various injuries, and to a still larger 
group in which the attack proceeds not necessarily from 
a revenant , but from any kind of evil spirit (Alp and 
Luren sagas). The presence of the sadistic feature in- 
creases the difficulty of distinguishing the elements of 
love and hate, of sexuality and hostility; a typical ex- 
ample of this would be the Apollonius-Menippus story 
which Keats has so beautifully elaborated in his Lamia 
poem. A further complexity is introduced by the beliefs 
in which the Vampire-like spirit emanates not from a 
dead but from a still living person. Stern 2 says, for in- 
stance, that the Thessalians, Epirotes and Wallachians 
still believe in such somnambulists who wander about at 
night and tear people to pieces with their teeth. The 

1 See Ernest Jones, 'The Pathology of Morbid Anxiety', Journal of Abnormal 
Psychology, vol. vi. 1911, pp. 81-106. [Reprinted in my Papers on Psycho- 
Analysis, and also Part I. of the present volume.] 

* Stern, op. cit. S. 360. See also B. Schmidt, Volksleben der Neugriechen, 
1871, Bd. i. S. 166. 



Portuguese Bi:uxsa may also be mentioned here: 
Andree 1 describes her as follows: 'Nachts erhebt sie sich 
von ihrem Lager und fliegt dann in der Gestalt irgend 
eines riesigen Nachtvogels weit von der Heimat weg. 
Die Bruxeri halten Zusammenkiinfte mit ihren teu- 
flischen Liebhabern, entfiihren, angstigen und peinigen 
die einsamen Wanderer; wenn sie von ihrer nachtlichen 
Lustfahrt heimkehren, saugen sie den eigenen Kindern 
das Blut aus.' ('At night she leaves her resting-place and 
flies far from home in the form of some kind of gigantic 
night-bird. The Bruxsas keep tryst with their diabolical 
lovers and seduce, terrify and torment lonely wanderers. 
On returning from their nocturnal journey of pleasure 
they suck the blood of their own children/) 

The considerations brought forward in previous 
chapters on the transformation of incestuous revenants 
into animals makes it comprehensible that Vampires 
may appear in a variety of animal guises. 2 Some of these 
are specially frequent in different countries: thus female 
cats in Japan, 3 pigs in Servia, 4 etc. Of especial interest 
is the widespread belief that the Vampire can appear in 
the form of a snake, of a butterfly 5 or an owl, 6 for these 
were originally figurative symbols of departed souls, 
particularly of the parents. Creatures that fly by night 
will occupy us in a future chapter, but the theme has a 
number of connections with the Vampire belief. When, 
for instance, one has anything to do with the body of a 
Vampire, one has to take special care to w r atch whether 
a butterfly flies away from it; if so, it is important to 
catch and burn it. As to owls, there is the popular belief 
that they suck at the udders of cows and the breasts of 
children, just like a real Vampire. 7 Laistner 8 finds associ- 

1 R. Andr6e, Ethnographische Parallelen und Vergleichc, 1878, S. 87. See 
also H. B. Schindler, Aberglauben des Mittelalters, 1858, S. 30. 
Andrei, op. cit. S. 80, 89. 

D. Brauns, Japanische Mdrchen und Sagen, 1885, S. 397. 
Krauss, op. cit. S. 128. 

F. Kanitz, Donaubulgarien und der Balkan, 1875, Bd. i. S. 80. 
H. Freimark, Okkultismus und Sexualitdt, S. 326. 
L. Laistner, Das Rdtsel der Sphinx, 1889, Bd. ii. S. 258. 
Laistner, op. cit. S. 257. 


ation between a butterfly and an owl on the one hand 
and the ghostly bird-like spirit that sucks goats' udders 
(Habergeiss) on the other. Henne am Rhyn 1 even re- 
garded the Roman fly-by-night Strigas as the ancestors 
of the European Vampires, though it is generally held 
that they were only to a small extent responsible for the 
belief in the latter. 

So far we have been considering one manifestation of 
the love motif, the wish or the fear that the dead should 
return to the living. We have next to mention its expres- 
sion in the idea of the living joining the lost one in death, 
and in so doing we begin to pass into the realm of the 
definitely pathological. This motif of the living being 
drawn by his love into death, where the two parted ones 
are for ever united, occurs in a great number of narra- 
tives, dramas and poems as well as in actual beliefs. In 
the present context it is chiefly found in the form of pro- 
jection on to the dead person, for the Vampire almost 
always takes the life of the living person he visits. It is 
probable, however, that the motive here ascribed to the 
Vampire originates far more in hate than in love, so that 
we shall deal with it rather in that connection. 

Grief for the loved person, however, explains only a 
part of the peculiar power of attraction that the idea of 
death exercises. This is evident from the fact that many 
feel this power who have never themselves experienced 
the loss of one dear to them. With some the idea is con- 
nected with that of a Beyond, the mysterious land of 
boundless possibilities where all phantasies are realized 
and all secrets revealed that land beside whose won- 
drous treasures even the highest attainable earthly bliss 
is without value. Shelley in his 'Adonais' expresses this 
feeling: Lif e> like a dome of many-coloured glass, 
Stains the white radiance of Eternity, 
Until Death tramples it to fragments. 

How much more attractive thesepossibilities of the future 
can be to those whose life contains little but misery is 
shown by the use religions have at all times made of them. 

* O. Henne am Rhyn, Der Teufel- und Hexenglaube, 1892, S. 20. 


Apart, however, from the attraction death offers as an 
escape into the promised happiness of another world, 
there is reason to think that with many people the act 
of dying itself exercises a curious fascination, one which 
psycho-analysis has shown to be closely akin to maso- 
chism. This is one of the reasons why the combination 
of the two motifs Love and Death have preoccupied 
poets like Heine, Shelley, Swinburne, Werner, etc., who 
have been so plunged in suffering. 

We have next to mention a still more remarkable per- 
version of the love-instinct, namely, the wish to die to- 
gether with the person one loves. With some people, of 
which the poet Heinrich von Kleist was a notable ex- 
ample, this longing becomes a veritable passion and the 
whole of their love is concentrated in the idea. The 
sources of this wish are, as might perhaps be expected, 
very complicated, and I propose to say only a little about 
them here. 1 The clearest of them is the sure feeling of 
definiteness and permanence that death offers: what one 
has in death one has for ever. This ardently coveted de- 
sideratum of all lovers is nowhere more wonderfully 
expressed than in the numerous passages on the Liebes- 
tod in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, such as: 

'So stiirben wir, um ungetrennt, 
ewig einig, ohne End 1 , 
ohn' Erwachen, ohn' Erbangen, 
namenlos in Lieb' umfangen, 
ganz uns selbst gegeben, 
der Liebe nur zu leben.' 

('So should we die 

that ne'er again 

our souls might suffer 

parting's pain, 

that unawakened, 


for reach of name 

too deeply hidden, 
our beings we might blend 
in love without an end/) 

1 For further details see Ernest Jones, 'Zum Problem des gemeinsamen 
Sterbens', Zentralblatt ftir Psychoanalyse, Jahrg. i. S. 563 et seq. [Reprinted in 
Essays in Applied Psycho- Analysis, 1923, ch. ii.j 


Psycho-analysis 1 has shown that this feature of in- 
satiability and of insistence on exclusive possession is 
particularly urgent with those who have not succeeded 
in emancipating themselves from the infantile desire to 
make a test case of their first love problem, that of in- 
cest with the mother and rivalry with the father. Death, 
which so often in infancy means little more than de- 
parture, 2 can then come to signify simply setting forth 
with the loved mother away from the disturbing influ- 
ence of the hated father. 

This love motif can, however, especially when in a 
state of repression, regress to an earlier form of sexuality, 
particularly to the sadistic-masochistic phase of develop- 
ment. It was remarked above that the masochistic side 
of a personality tends to regard the idea of Death as an 
aggressive onslaught, and the same is even truer of the 
idea of a dead person. A dead person who loves will 
love for ever and will never be weary of giving and 
receiving caresses. This insatiability of the dead was well 
described by Heine in his dedication to Dr. Faust; the 
returning Helena says: 

Du hast mich beschworen aus dem Grab 
Durch deinen Zauberwillen, 
Belebtest mich mit Wollustglut 
Jetzt kannst du die Glut nicht stillen. 

Press deinen Mund an meinen Mund, 
Der Menschen Odem ist gottlich! 
Ich trinke deine Seele aus, 
Die Toten sind unersattlich. 

(Thou hast called me from my grave 
By thy bewitching will; 
Made me alive, feel passionate love, 
A passion thou canst never still. 

Press thy mouth close to my cold mouth; 
Man's breath is god-like created! 
I drink thy essence, I drink thy soul, 
The dead can never be sated.) 

1 See, for example, J. Sadger, Heinrich von Kleist: Eine pathographisch- 
psychologische Stuaie, 1910, S. 60 et sea. 

1 Sigm. Freud, Die Traumdeutung, Dritte Auflage, 1911, S. 184. 


On the other hand the dead being allows everything, 
can offer no resistance, and the relationship has none of 
the inconvenient consequences that sexuality may bring 
in its train in life. The phantasy of loving such a being 
can therefore make a strong appeal to the sadistic side of 
the sexual instinct. Necrophilia, or love for the dead, 
occurs in two well-marked forms. The more normal of 
the two appears to be little more than an extension of 
the part played by love in mourning, the frantic aver- 
sion against accepting the event and parting for ever 
from the loved being. This form was well known to the 
ancients, both in fact and in legend. Herodotus narrates 
several examples of it, including that of the Tyrant 
Periander who continued to have sexual relations with 
his wife Melissa after her death. King Herod was said 
to have slept with the corpse of his wife Marianne for 
seven years after her death, and similar stories were told 
of King Waldemar IV 1 and Charlemagne. 2 The theme 
has been widely exploited in modern literature, e.g. in 
Heinrich von Kleist's Marquise von 0, Otto Ludwig's 
Maria, Heine's Beschworung, Zacharias Werner's Kreuzes- 
briidern, Brentano's Romanzen von Rosenkranz, Marquis 
de Sade's Justine, and, still more, in his Juliette, le Vylars 
Souvestre's Le Vampire, and Baudelaire's Le Vampire. 

The other, more gruesome, form of necrophilia ranks 
as perhaps the most extreme imaginable perversion of 
the love instinct. In it the person obtains gratification 
with any corpse, not that of a loved object, and he does 
so either by performing some kind of sexual act on the 
corpse or, more characteristically, by biting, tearing and 
devouring its decaying flesh. It evidently signifies a re- 
version to the most primitive aspects of sadism, both of 
the oral and anal kind; the latter is indicated by the 
close association that is often found in the unconscious 
between the ideas of faeces (or the babies supposed to 
arise from them) and of any kind of decomposing 
material, particularly human corpses. In superstition 

1 Singer, Bibliothek des literarischen Vereincs, clxxxv. Sect. xvi. 
1 Conway, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 396. H. Steffens, Novellen, 1837, Bd. i. S. 19. 


necrophilia is more correctly represented by the idea of 
the Arabian ghoul, but this is in many ways connected 
with that of the Vampire itself. Vampires are, for in- 
stance, commonly believed to devour the bodies of 
neighbouring corpses before they are driven to seek 
living flesh, and the person he drags into death then does 
the same. The admixture of the two ideas of Ghoul and 
Vampire is well illustrated by an Oriental tale where the 
being in question is a revenant, devours corpses, and 
sucks the blood of his wife. 1 It is not without significance 
that the expression 'Vampirism' was (inaccurately) used 
to describe the two best-known cases of necrophilia in 
the nineteenth century, namely, 'Le vampyre de Paris' 
forM. Bertrand 2 and'Le Vampyre du Muy' for Ardisson. 8 
We divided the motives impelling to re-union with the 
dead into two, those concerned with Love and with Hate 
respectively, and we have now to turn our attention to 
the second of these two groups. Though it is at least as 
important as the other motive, there is less to be said 
about it for the simple reason that it is far less complex. 
The mechanism is the same as that of the terrors of 
childhood, i.e. the fear of retaliation for wrong-doing or 
for wicked thoughts. Someone who has a repressed 
hatred not an ordinary, conscious one is apt to have 
bad dreams, or even a dread of ghosts, indicating his 
fear of being appropriately punished by the person to 
whom he had wished ill. These evil wishes play an enor- 
mously important part in the unconscious mind and 
ultimately emanate from the hostile 'death- wishes 1 
nourished by the child against the disturbing parent or 
other rival. The guilty conscience resulting from such 
wishes against those who are otherwise objects of affec- 
tion naturally brings the thought that if they really died, 
and the evil wishes were thus fulfilled, they would surely 
return from the grave to haunt and torture their 'mur- 
derer'. It is largely because such wishes are so common in 

1 Gholes, Histoire des Vampires. 1820, p. 106. 

1 L. Lunier, 'Examen m6dico-16gal d'un cas de monomanie instinctive: affaire 
du sergent Bertrand', Annales nUdico-psychologiques, 1849, p. 353. 
* M. Belletrud et E, Mercier, L' Affaire Ardisson, 1903. 


the unconscious that the prevailing attitude towards the 
supernatural is one of fear or even terror. We have here 
another reason, in addition to the one formerly adduced, 
why a Vampire is so prone to visit his nearest relatives; 
in a celebrated case, for instance, that was reported by 
the Count de Cadreras in 1720, and which led to a Com- 
mission of Inquiry being instituted by the Emperor 
Charles VI, a man returned from the grave after sixteen 
years and caused the death of his two sons by sucking 
their blood. 

As is intelligible from daily experience, traces are 
plainly to be found in this set of beliefs of endeavours 
to shift the sense of guilt arising from repressed hostility. 
The most typical method is to displace it by projection 
on to the dead person himself, who is supposed to be 
unable to rest in peace because of his uneasy conscience. 
A person who is cursed see above for examples is be- 
lieved to become a Vampire after death, the assumption 
being that he would not have been cursed had he not 
been a wicked person, so that the person cursing was 
fully justified in doing so. That is probably why the most 
effective curses and bans are those of a person of respect 
such as a father or godfather, above all those of a priest. 
In spite of these endeavours, however, the psychological 
fact remains and must be faced, that the person who 
dreads the Vampire is the person really afflicted by guilt. 
There is little doubt that we have here a^second motive, 
and probably much the more important one, for the bond 
described above between the living and the dead and for 
the numerous ritualistic performances that are intended 
to appease the dead and allow of peaceful decomposition. 
One of the most typical of these is the custom, common 
in all regions of the world, of lacerating one's body until 
blood flows copiously. It is often accompanied by shaving 
of the head (i.e. symbolic castration), so that the mourner 
obviates the need of the dead man to inflict the terrible 
punishment by doing it himself in a milder manner. 

This theme of guiltiness leads us to the perception that 
the two fundamental motives of love and hate, i.e. the 


sexual and hostile impulses, meet at this nodal point. To 
put the matter simply, love leads to hate and hate leads 
to guilt. This reproduces the primordial triangular situa- 
tion through which every individual has to pass in in- 
fancy, typically loving the parent of the opposite sex 
and hating that of the same sex. In the present context 
both of these emotional attitudes are projected on to the 
Vampire, whose sense of guilt is then supposed to impel 
him to allay it by glutting them in the way we have seen 

Let us now listen to the popular beliefs on this subject. 
The common people hold that there are two reasons why 
a departed spirit is moved to leave the grave and to 
return to the living, according as he does this volun- 
tarily or involuntarily. In the former case his motives 
are supposed to be those already considered above: love, 
hate (desire to avenge an old wrong) or his conscience (de- 
sire to complete an unfinished task, to settle an unpaid 
debt, to right a wrong, etc.). The reasons why a spirit 
is prevented from resting in peace and forced to wander 
to and fro against his will may lie in his destiny, in his 
own misdeeds or in interference on the part of those left 
behind him. The Roman Catholic Church has elaborated 
this group into a complete dogma; masses are said for 
those in purgatory. The involuntary activity of the 
dead often wins the sympathy of the living, who abstain 
from all manner of things that might increase his unrest. 1 

All these considerations apply to the Vampire belief 
itself, for, although someone may become a Vampire 
after death in a great many different ways, 2 still it is easy 
to distinguish two groups according as he is responsible 
for the event or not. Sometimes the two types carry 
different names. Stern 3 tells us: 'Die Vampire der Dal- 
matiner sind in zwei Art en eingeteilt, in schuldlose und 
schuldbeladene. Die eine Art heisst Denac, die andere 
Orko/ ('In Dalmatia Vampires are divided into two 

1 See Wuttke, op. cit. S. 481, where a number of examples are given. 
* Hock, op. cit. S. 21-23. Stern, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 351-369. 
8 Stern, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 360. 


kinds, into innocent and guilty. The one is called Denac, 
the other Orko.') Hock 1 lists a number of sins that may 
lead to this fate after death; they include working on 
Sundays, smoking on holy days, and having sexual inter- 
course with one's grandmother. 

There are several causes of Vampirism in the innocent. 
He may be predestined from birth to this fate by being 
born on an unlucky day or by coming of a family in 
which there is an hereditary tendency to Vampirism. 
These congenital causes, like the doctrine of 'original 
sin 1 , are, of course, connected with parental sin. A clear 
example of this is the belief in Greece one, incidentally, 
which contradicts the old English rhyme on the same 
topic that children born on Christmas Day are doomed 
to become Vampires in punishment of their mother's sin 
of being so presumptuous as to conceive on the same day 
as the Virgin Mary. During their lifetime such children 
are known as Callicantzaros, and in order, if possible, to 
obviate further developments it is customary to burn the 
soles of their feet until the nails are singed and so their 
claws clipped. The other congenital group concerns such 
features as red hair, blue eyes, pallid countenance, 
plentiful hair, and strong and precocious teeth: it is 
noteworthy that this description exactly corresponds 
with the popular conception of an over-sexual person, 
one which runs through a great deal of folklore. Even 
after death this fate may be brought about by an unclean 
bird or other animal (particularly dogs and cats) settling 
on his grave, leaping over his dead body, or creeping 
under his coffin, acts which are evidently connected with 
the idea of insufficient respect or care for the dead. The 
animal here is a symbol in the unconscious of the hating 
person, so that the custom, still prevalent in the North 
of England, of at once killing it has its psychological 
sense, as also is the belief that such an animal will blind 
the next person he caresses after leaving the corpse. 

After the diagnosis of Vampirism has been made the 
treatment prescribed is of a very varied kind. The 

i Hock, op. cit. S. 22. 


simplest consists of measures calculated to afford the 
dead some comfort, rest, or at least a peaceful occupa- 
tion, 1 More active is the practice of drinking his blood 2 
or eating his flesh, 3 one which again shows the reciprocal 
talion nature of the relationship bet ween dead and living. 
When matters get so far as this, however, it is customary 
to take even sterner measures. One begins by driving a 
stake through the heart, and it is important that this 
should be done with a single blow, for two or three would 
restore it to life a belief to be found in many allied 
fields of folklore. 4 It is then desirable to strike off the 
head again with a single stroke and to place it be- 
tween the feet, to boil the heart in oil, and to hack the 
body to pieces. It is noteworthy how closely these corre- 
spond with the punishment meted out, especially in the 
East, to peculiarly atrocious murderers. The one infal- 
lible measure, however, when all else fails, is to burn the 
corpse utterly and to scatter the ashes under appro- 
priate precautions. 

* * * # # 

We pass now to the second essential attribute of the 
Vampire, namely Bloodsucking. Here we find a great many 
predecessors of the Vampire proper. In general it may 
be said that the habit of sucking living blood is through- 
out connected with ideas of cannibalism on the one hand 
and the Incubat-Succubat, two facts which alone reveal 
the sexual origin of the belief. The Assyrian and Baby- 
lonian Lilats, 5 the Eastern Palukah, 6 the Finnish Lord 
of the Underworld, 7 the Bohemian Mora, 8 the German 
Alp: 9 all suck human blood. The Ludak of the Lap- 
landers appears in the form of a bug and sucks blood 
through an iron tube. 10 The Malayan Molong, as well as 

Hock, op. cit. S. 27, 28. Stern, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 351-369. 
W. Mannhardt, Die praktischen Folgen des Aberglaubens, 1878, S. 13. 
W. J. A. Tettau und J. D. H. Temme, Volkssagen Ostpreussens, 1837, S. 275. 
E. S. Hartland, The Legend of Perseus, 1896, vol. iii. p. 23. 
C. Binet-Sangl^, La Folie de Jesus, t. ii. 1910, p. 91. 
Stern, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 359. 

M. A. Castren, Vorlesungen uber die finnische Mythologie, 1853, S. 131. 
J. V. Grohmann, Sagen aus Bohmen und Mdhren, 1864, Bd. i. S. 24. 
Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 61. 
10 J. C. Poestion, Lappldndische Mdrchen, 1886, S. 132. 

CH. iv THE VAMPIRE 1 17 

the Penangelam of Indo-China, visit women at night 
and live on the human blood they suck. 1 

The sexual nature of the act is plainly indicated in the 
following examples. Heinrich von Wlislocki, 2 in his re- 
searches into Roumanian superstitions, tells us: 'Der 
Nosferat saugt nicht nur schlafender Menschen Blut, 
sondern stiftet auch als Inkubus-Succuba Unheil. Der 
Nosferat ist das totgeborene uneheliche Kind zweier 
Leute, die beide ebenfalls uneheliche Kinder sind. Kaum 
wird das von solcher Mutter und solchem Vater stam- 
mende uneheliche und totgeborene Kind in der Erde 
verscharrt, so erwacht es zum Leben, entsteigt seinem 
Grabe und kehrt nicht mehr dahin zuriick. Als schwarze 
Katze, als schwarzer Hund, als Kafer, Schmetterling 
oder auch bios als Strohhalm besucht es nachts die Men- 
schen; wenn es mannlichen Geschlechts ist: die Frauen; 
wenn es weiblichen Geschlechts ist: die Manner. Mit 
jungen Leuten treibt es geschlechtliche Vermischung, 
bis sie krank werden und an Auszehrung sterben. In 
diesem Falle kommt es auch als schoner Jiingling oder 
als schones Madchen, wahrend die Opfer halb wach 
liegen und widerstandlos sich ihm fiigen. Oft geschieht 
es, dass Weiber von ihnen geschwangert werden und 
Kinder gebaren, die durch ihre Hasslichkeit und dadurch 
erkennbar sind, dass sie am ganzen Leibe Haare haben. 
Die werden dann sicher wieder Hexen, gewohnlich 
Moroiu. Der Nosferat erscheint bei Brautigam und Braut 
und macht sie impotent und unfruchtbar.' (The Nos- 
ferat not only sucks the blood of sleeping people, but also 
does mischief as an Incubus or Succubus. The Nosferat 
is the still-born, illegitimate child of two people who are 
similarly illegitimate. It is hardly put under the earth 
before it awakes to life and leaves its grave never to 
return. It visits people by night in the form of a black 
cat, a black dog, a beetle, a butterfly or even a simple 
straw. When its sex is male, it visits women; when 
female, men. With young people it indulges in sexual 

1 R. A, Davenport, Sketches of Imposture, Deception and Credulity, 1861 
PP- 73. 75- * Quoted by Stern, op> cit> Bd. i. S. 357, 358. 


orgies until they get ill and die of exhaustion. In this case 
it also appears in the form of a handsome youth or a 
pretty girl, while the victim lies half awake and submits 
unresistingly. It often happens that women are im- 
pregnated by the creature and bear children who can be 
recognized by their ugliness and by their having hair 
over the whole body. They then always become witches, 
usually Moroiu. The Nosferat appears to bridegrooms 
and brides and makes them impotent and sterile/) The 
Chaldeans believed in the existence of spirits who had 
intercourse with mortals in their sleep, devoured their 
flesh and sucked their blood; 1 a complete Jack the 
Ripper phantasy. The Vedic Gandharvas are blood- 
thirsty lewd demons who visit women in their sleep. 2 
Similar to them are the Indian Pisachas, who lust after 
flesh and indulge their cruel pleasure on women when 
these are asleep, drunk or insane. 3 Other beings of the 
same kind devote their attention rather to men; thus the 
Ruthenian Upierzyca when the moon is full seeks youths 
in their bed 4 and consumes them in kisses and embraces. 5 
Freimark 6 writes: 'Die griechisch-romischen Lamien sind 
zugleich Buhlteufelinnen und Vampire. Sie suchen 
schone, kfaftige Jiinglinge in sich verliebt zu machen 
und zur Verehelichung mit sich zu bringen. Haben sie 
sie so weit, so tot en sie den Jiinglmg, indem sie ihm das 
Blut aussaugen/ (The Greek and Roman Lamias are at 
the same time lewd demons and Vampires. They try to 
get handsome strong youths to fall in love with them 
and to marry them. Having succeeded in this, they kill 
them by sucking their blood/) Finally, one may remark 
that the present-day use of the word, particularly cur- 
rent since the War, speaks in the same direction: a film 
Vampire is a beautiful woman who uses her sexual 
charms for anal-sadistic purposes. 

1 J. Menant, Ninive et Babylone, p. 271. 

* E. W. A. Kuhn, Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Sprachforschung, Jahrg. xiii. 
S. 118. 

A. W. von Schlegel, Indische Bibliothek, 1823, Bd. i. S. 87. 

4 Just like the Montenegrin Vampires, Stern, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 361. 

5 F. von Hellwald, Die Welt der Slaven, Zweite Auflage, 1890, S. 367. 

Freimark, op. cit. S. 278, 279. 

CH. iv THE VAMPIRE 1 19 

Blood is not the only vital fluid extracted from the 
victim, though the Vampire proper generally confines 
himself to it. The German Alp sucks the nipples of men 1 
and children, 2 and withdraws milk from women 3 and 
cows 4 more often than blood. The Drud also sucks the 
breasts of children, 5 while the Southern Slav Mora sucks 
blood or milk indifferently. 6 In India, the Churel, after 
spending a night with a handsome young man sucks his 
very life' out. 7 

The explanation of these phantasies is surely not hard. 
A nightly visit from a beautiful or frightful being, who 
first exhausts the sleeper with passionate embraces and 
then withdraws from him a vital fluid: all this can point 
only to a natural and common process, namely to noc- 
turnal emissions accompanied with dreams of a more or 
less erotic nature. In the unconscious mind blood is com- 
monly an equivalent for semen, and it is not necessary 
to have recourse, as Hock 8 does, to the possibility of 
'selbst zugefiigten Kratzwunden wahrend eines wol- 
liistigen Traumes' ('wounds inflicted on oneself by 
scratching during a voluptuous dream'). 

Many myths and legends afford strongly confirmatory 
evidence of this conclusion. To begin with, the Accadian 
Gelal and Kiel Galal, the Assyrian Sil and Sileth, who 
are equivalent to the European Incubus and Succubus, 
are demons whose special function it was to bring about 
nocturnal emissions by nocturnal embraces. 9 According 
to Quedenfeldt, 10 south of the Atlas mountains there pre- 
vails the belief that there are old negresses who at night 
suck blood from the toes of those asleep. The Armenian 
mountain spirit Dachnavar similarly sucks blood from 

1 Grohmann, loc. cit. 

* H. Floss, Das Kind im Branch und Sitte der Vdlker, 1884, Bd. i. S. 298. 

8 Laistncr, loc. cit. 4 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 82. 

6 F. X. von Schonwerth, A us der OberpfalzSitten und Sagen, 1858, Bd. i. 
S. 201, 211. 

1 Krauss, op. cit. S. 147, 148. 

7 Compare Laurence Hope's poem 'Lalla Radha and the Churel 1 in Stars 
of the Desert, 1909. 

8 Hock, op. cit. S. 5. 

1 F. Lenormant, Chaldean Magic, English translation, 1877, p. 38. 
10 M, Quedenfeldt, cited by Stern, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 359. 


the feet of wanderers, 1 while Meyer 8 mentions ghostly 
mothers who suck out the eyes of their children. As is 
well known, 3 toes, feet and eyes are in folklore and 
mythology, as well as in dreams and psychoneurotic 
symptoms, frequently recurring phallic symbols. The 
nervous system, particularly the spinal cord, often has 
the same symbolic meaning as blood (vital substance), 
which is the reason why sufferers from excessive noc- 
turnal emissions so often develop the dread of softening 
of the spine with paralysis. The Roman Strigas, for 
instance, used to suck, not only the blood of children, 
but also their spinal marrow. 4 The idea that moral delin- 
quency, essentially masturbation, leads to weakness of 
the spine is extremely widespread. On the first page of 
Zschokke's Die Zauberin Sidonia, written in 1798, there 
occurs the following line: 'Die Faulheit saugt uns mit 
ihrem Vampyrenriissel Mark und Blut ab' ('Laziness 
with its vampire snout sucks away our marrow and 
blood'). This may be compared with Jaromir's speech in 
Grillparzer's Ahnfrau: 

Und die Angst mit Vampirriissel 
Saugt das Blut aus meinen Adern, 
Aus dem Kopfe das Gehirn. 

('And terror, with its vampire snout, sucks the blood 
from out my veins, the brain from out my head'.) 

It is evident that in the Vampire superstition proper 
the simple idea of the vital fluid being withdrawn 
through an exhausting love embrace is complicated by 
more perverse forms of sexuality, as well as by the ad- 
mixture of sadism and hate. When the more normal 
aspects of sexuality are in a state of repression there is 
always a tendency to regress towards less developed 
forms. Sadism is one of the chief of these, and it is the 
earliest form of this known as oral sadism that plays 
such an important part in the Vampire belief. The still 

1 A. von Haxthausen, Transkaukasien, 1856, Bd. i. S. 170. 

* E. H. Meyer, Indogermanische Mythen, 1883, Bd. ii. S. 528. 

* See Aigremont, Fuss- und Schuh-Symbolih und -Erotik, 1909; and S* Selig- 
mann, Der base Blick und Verwandtes, 1910. 

4 G. Roskoff, Geschichte des Teufels, 1869* Bd* is S^ 147. 

earlier stage, the simple sucking that precedes biting, is 
more connected with the love side we have discussed 
earlier, the sadism more with the element of hate. The 
act of sucking has a sexual significance from earliest 
infancy 1 which is maintained throughout life in the form 
of kissing; in certain perversions it can actually replace 
the vagina itself. 

From the earliest times myths and legends about 
Vampires have existed in Europe; a typical example is 
the Wallachian belief that red-haired men appear after 
death in the form of frogs, beetles, etc., and drink the 
blood of beautiful girls. 2 Further, there have come down 
to us from the earliest Middle Ages reports of the custom 
existing in most European countries of digging up, 
piercing with a stake or burning the corpse of those 
spirits who torment the living and suck their blood. 8 As 
has already been pointed out, this belief is spread over 
the whole world: for example, the modern Pontianaks of 
Java, who emanate from corpses, have the habit of suck- 
ing blood, 4 and the Assyrian Vampire, called Akakharu, 
has on the other hand the most ancient lineage. 5 Our 
fullest knowledge of the belief in Europe, however, we 
owe to the Balkan peninsula, where it has evidently 
been greatly influenced by Turkish superstitions. 6 In 
England we have several complete and typical accounts 
related by William of Newburgh 7 in the twelfth century, 
but since that date hardly a trace of the belief is to be 
found. In ancient Ireland the Vampire, under the name 
of the Dearg-dul, 'red blood-sucker', played a consider- 
able part among popular dreads, but he likewise seems 
to have vanished at an early date. 

The epidemics of Vampirism, which had been frequent 
enough before, reached their highest point in the south- 

1 Sigm. Freud, Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie, Zweite Auflage, 1910, 
S. 40. [Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. v. S. 54.] 

* Andre"e, op. cit. S. 87. 

3 Hock, op. cit. S. 30-34. 4 Davenport, op. cit. p. 72. 

5 Conway, loc. cit. 

* Krauss, op. cit. S. 124. 

7 William of Newburgh, Historic* Rerum Anglicarum, Book V. ch. xxii.- 


east of Europe during the eighteenth century 1 and lasted 
well on into the nineteenth. 2 The most alarming took 
place in Chios in 1708,* in Hungary in 1726,* in Meduegya 
and Belgrade4n 1725 and 1732,*^ Servia in i825, 6 an( i 
in Hungary in i832. 7 In the year 1732 there appeared in 
Germany alone some fourteen books on the subject, 8 
which evoked general horror and drew wide attention 
to the problem. It did not escape Voltaire's satire, who 
in his discussion of it in his Dictionnaire philosophique 
wrote: 'La difficulte etait de savoir si c'etait Fame ou le 
corps du mort qui mangeait: il fut decide que c'etait 
Tun et Fautre; les mets delicats et peu substantiels, 
comme les meringues, la creme fouettee et les fruits 
fondants, etaient pour Tame; les ros-bif etaient pour le 
corps/ We are not concerned here with the actual causes 
of these fatal epidemics, which is a purely medical pro- 
blem. Hock 9 remarks that they occurred chiefly when 
plague was rife, and it is certain that the association of 
stench is common to the two ideas. Bearing in mind the 
anal-erotic origin of necrophilia, commented on above, 
we are not surprised to observe what stress many writers 
on the subject lay on the horrible stink that invests the 
Vampire. One example of this will suffice: Allacci 10 de- 
scribes a Greek Vampire called the Burculacas, 'than 
whom no plague more terrible or more harmful to man 
can well be thought of or conceived. This name is given 
him from vile filth. For povpfca means bad black mud, 
not any kind of mud but feculent muck that is slimy and 
oozing with excrementitious sewerage so that it exhales 
a most noisome stench. Xa*/co9 is a ditch or a cloaca in 

1 See especially A. Calmet, Dissertation sur les apparitions des anges, des 
demons et des esprits, et sur les revenants et vampires de Hongrie, de Boheme, de 
Moravie, et de Sittsie, 1746. 

2 Compare Gartenlaube, 1873, Nr. 34, 'Der Vampir-Schrecken im neun- 
zehnten Jahrhundert'. 

Sepp, op. cit. S. 269. * Sepp, loc. cit. 

Horst, op. cit. Erster Teil, S. 251; Funfter Teil, S. 381. This is the epidemic 
that has been most often described. 

Sepp, op. cit. S. 270. . 7 Sepp, loc. cit. 

Horst, op. cit. Erster Teil, S. 265, 266; Fiinfter Teil, S. 383. 
Hock, op. cit. S. 31, 49. 
10 L. Allacci, De quorundam Graecorum opinationibus t 1645, p. 142. 


which foulness of this kind collects and reeks amain. 1 
Plagues, in their turn, have always been associated in 
the popular and to some extent in the medical mind 
with the notion of stench, particularly from decompos- 
ing sewage. The Vampire of Alnwick Castle, whose story 
is narrated by William of Newburgh, 1 was actually be- 
lieved to have caused an extensive plague through the 
evil odours he spread, and it ceased when his corpse was 
adequately dealt with. The association of ideas explicit 
in this story was doubtless implicit on countless other 
occasions. In the Middle Ages there was a close correla- 
tion between visitations of the Black Death and out- 
breaks of Vampirism, and even as late as 1855 the 
terrible cholera epidemic in Dantsic revived such a wide- 
spread belief in the dead returning as Vampires to claim 
the living that, according to medical opinion, the fears 
of the people greatly increased the mortality from the 

The Vampire superstition is still far from dead in 
many parts of Europe. In Norway, Sweden and Finland 
it lasted until quite recently. 2 Krauss 3 reports that at 
the present day the peasants in Bosnia believe in the 
existence of Vampires as firmly as in that of God, and 
the same is hardly less true of the Servian peasant. 4 The 
belief is still rife in Greece, and Lawson 6 in 1910 says: 
'Even now a year seldom passes in which some village of 
Greece does not disembarrass itself of a vrykolakas by 
the traditional means, cremation.' In Bulgaria in 1837 a 
stranger, suspected of being a Vampire, was tortured 
and burned alive. 6 In 1874, in Rhode Island, U.S.A., a 
man exhumed the body of his own daughter and burned 
her heart in the belief that she was endangering the life 
of other members of the family, and about the same 
time in Chicago the body of a woman who had died of 

1 Ibid. 

a O. von Hovorka und A. Kronfeld, Vergleichende Volksmedizin, 1908, Bd. ii. 
S. 425. s Krauss, op. cit. S. 124. 

4 Idem. 'Vampyre im siidslavischen Volksglauben', Globus, 1892, Bd. Ixi. 
S. 326. 

8 J. C. Lawson, Modern Greek Folk Lore and Ancient Greek Religion, 1910, 
p. 374. 6 Stern, op. cit. Bd. i. S, 362. 


consumption was dug up and the lungs burned for the 
same reason. 1 In 1889 in Russia the corpse of an old 
man, suspected of being a Vampire, was dug up, at 
which many of those present stoutly maintained they 
saw a tail attached to his back. 2 In 1899 Roumanian 
peasants in Krassowa dug up no fewer than thirty 
corpses and tore them to pieces with the object of stop- 
ping an epidemic of diphtheria. 3 Two further instances 
occurred as recently as 1902, one in Hungary, 4 one in 
Bucharest, 5 and in 1909 a castle in South Transylvania 
was burned by the populace, who believed that a Vam- 
pire emanating from it was the cause of a sudden in- 
crease in the mortality of their children. 6 In 1912 a 
farmer in Hungary who had suffered from ghostly visi- 
tations went to the cemetery one night, stuffed three 
pieces of garlic note the homeopathic smell factor in 
the treatment and three stones into the mouth, and 
fixed the corpse to the ground by thrusting a stake 
through it in the approved fashion. 7 

The word 'Vampire' itself, introduced into general 
European use towards the end of the first third of the 
eighteenth century, is a Southern Slav word. Its deriva- 
tion has been much disputed, but the greatest authority, 
H Miklosich, 8 considers the most likely one to be the North 
Turkish uber, a witch. The other Slavonic variants are: 
Bulgarian and Servian, vapir; Polish, upier; Russian, 
vopyr. The word has acquired various secondary mean- 
ings which are not without interest as showing what 
significations the conception has for the popular mind. 
The earliest extension first made by Buffon 9 was to 
designate certain bats which were thought to attack 
animals and even human beings in sleep. The old idea of 
a baleful night-flight is plain here. The two chief meta- 

Conway, op. cit. p. 52. 

A. A. Lowaaastimm, Aberglaube und Strafrecht, Deutsche Obersetz., 1897, 


101. 8 Neue Freie Presse, Nov. 8, 1899. 

Stem, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 370. * Ibid. 

Neues Wiener Journal, June 10, 1909. 
Daily Telegraph, February 15, 1912. 
F. Miklosich, Etymologisches Worterbuch der slavischen Sprachen, 1886, 


9 G. L. le Clerc de Buffon, Hist, natur. gen. et pa/t n 1762, t. x. p. 55. 


phorical connotations of the word are: (i) a social or 
political tyrant who sucks the life from his people; 1 this 
was used in English as early as 1741 ; 2 (2) an irresistible 
lover who sucks away energy, ambition or even life for 
selfish reasons; the latter may be of either sex, either 
male, as in Torresani's fascinating cavalry captain, 8 or 
female, as in Kipling's Vampire poem and in the daily 
speech of Hollywood. 

The Vampire superstition is evidently closely allied 
to that of the Incubus and Succubus. Freimark 4 writes: 
'Denn man kann, wenn auch nicht als Regel, so doch 
in den meisten iiberlieferten Fallen konstatieren, dass 
Frauen stets von einem mannlichen, Manner hingegen von 
einem weiblichen Vampir heimgesucht werden. . . . Das 
sexuelle Moment charakterisiert den Vampirglauben als 
eine andere, allerdings gefahrlichere Form des Inkubus- 
und Sukkubusglaubens/ (Though it is not an absolute 
rule, still it can be observed that in most cases women 
are constantly visited by male Vampires, and men by 
female ones. . . . The sexual features characterize the 
Vampire belief as another form of the Incubus-Succubus 
belief it is true, a more dangerous one/) Zimmermann 5 
and Laurent and Nagour 6 are of the same opinion, and 
this is convincingly confirmed by our newly gained 
knowledge of the symbolism of such processes. Just as 
Incubi suck out vital fluids and thus exhaust the victim 
(see above), so do Vampires often lie on the breast and 
induce suffocation. The Hebrew Lilith, whom Johannes 
Weyer called the princess who presided over the Succubi, 
came from the Babylonian Lilitu, who was definitely a 
Vampire; incidentally, the name is now thought to be 
derived from lulti, 'lasciviousness', and not, as the Rabbis 
used to maintain, from the Hebrew Lailah, 'night '. The 

See Hock for examples, op. cit. S. 56, 57, 61. 

C. Forraan, Observations on the Revolution in 1688, 1741, p. n. 

C. Torresani, A us der schdnen, wilden Leutnantzeit, 1894, Bd. ii. S. 141. 

Freimark, op. cit. S. 331, 332. 

Zimmermann, Die Wonne des Leids, 1885, S. 113. 

Laurent und Nagour, op. cit. S. 146. 


similarity with the Alp belief, which in the popular 
mind takes the place of that in Incubi, is even more 
striking; just like the Vampire, the Alp, as also the 
Mara, is often the spirit of the recently deceased, 1 and 
can suck blood during sleep, with the same fatal conse- 
quences. 2 Among the Southern Slavs it is believed that 
when a Mara (there called Mora) once tastes a man's 
blood she falls in love with him and can never more 
leave him, plaguing him night after night; she is particu- 
larly found of sucking children's breasts, which then 
exude a thin fluid. 3 The most extensive connection, 
however, is that subsisting in the details of the two 
beliefs, particularly those concerning the causes and cure 
of the evil impulse that moves them to their ruthless 
deeds. By this I mean such details as the idea that both 
Alp and Vampire sometimes act on their own initiative, 
sometimes are compelled against their will the reasons 
being identical in the two cases; both attack wanderers 
who answer their questions, or who ask them where they 
come from, etc., etc. The methods of releasing those con- 
demned by spells are again similar, but to discuss these 
would be to embark on the complicated, though fasci- 
nating, theme of 'release' in folklore, and unfortunately 
that would take us too far from our topic: it must 
suffice here to say that of the long list of methods col- 
lected by Wuttke 4 by means of which returning or 
wandering souls, i.e. those prone to be Vampires, may 
be 'released' (or 'saved') the majority are identical with 
those efficacious in the 'release' of the Alp from his con- 
dition; Laistner, 5 for example, explains the belief men- 
tioned above that l^ie illegitimate children of illegitimate 
parents become Vampires as a variant of the 'releasing' 
motif, for when an illegitimate Mara begets an illegiti- 
mate chilc^she is herself 'released'. Further, the idea of 
travelling or flying by night is an important point of 
connection between the Vampire belief and the numerous 

1 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 63. * Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 61. 

3 Krauss, op. cit. S. 148. 4 Wuttke, op. cit. S. 480-481. 

6 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 273. 



Alp and Mahre myths in which it occurs; for instance, 
that of the Roman Striga or the Montenegrin Wjeschti- 
tza, 'ein weiblicher Geist mit feurigen Fliigeln, der den 
Schlafenden auf die Brust steigt, sie mit ihren Um- 
armungen erstickt oder wahnsinnig macht' ('a female 
spirit with fiery wings who mounts on to the breast of 
sleepers and stifles them with her embraces or drives 
them mad'). 1 

The incest complex, which underlies the Incubus 
belief, shows itself equally in the Vampire one. We have 
shown above that the whole superstition is shot through 
with the theme of guilt, and we know from psycho- 
analysis that this is not only generated in the incest 
conflicts of infancy, but throughout life depends on them. 
The very fact that the Vampire is a revenant is decisive 
here, for we have already traced this conception to the in- 
cest complex. The appearance of the Vampire in animal 
form, particularly in that of a butterfly or snake 2 two 
of the commonest Oriental representatives of the father, 
is one of the many characteristic features of this origin, 
as again is the fact that his activities are altogether 
characterized by every possible infantile perversion. 

We have finally to discuss the connections between the 
Vampire superstition and the experiences of anxiety 
dreams, particularly the Nightmare. Wundt 3 says on this 
point: 'Alsnachtliche Spuksgestalt, die den Schlafer um- 
klammert, um ihm das Blut auszusaugen, ist er sichtlich 
ein Produkt des Alptraumes.' ('As a nocturnal spirit who 
embraces a sleeper to suck his blood from him, he is 
evidently a product of the Nightmare/) He adds, how- 
ever, with justice that the idea of a spirit keeping alive 
by drinking blood comes from other and more general 
sources. Hock 4 distinguishes between the true blood- 
sucking Vampire and the hungry dead that tears his 
shroud and so draws his family to him merely through 
sympathy: 'Hat jene Tradition in der Traumvorstellung 

1 Stern, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 356. * Krauss, op. cit. S. 129. 

* W. Wundt, Volktrpsychologie, Bd. ii. Teil ii. 1906, S. 120. 
* Hock, op. cit. S. 23. 


ihre sichere Grundlage, so sind die Sagen von den 
"schmatzenden und kauenden" Toten offenbar im 
Hinblick auf tatsachlich erlebte Ereignisse nach dem ent- 
setzlichen Vorbilde eines im Grabe zu spat erwachten 
Scheintoten gebildet/ (The former tradition is firmly 
based on dream ideas, but the legends of the dead 
person "smacking his lips and chewing" are evidently 
constructed from actual experiences of people who 
awakened too late from a death-like trance/) 

While Hock admits that the idea of the Vampire 
proper is derived from dream life, he adduces the ex- 
perience of finding people buried alive to explain one 
minor type of the species. Other writers, on the other 
hand, have used the dread of this experience to solve 
the whole riddle of the Vampire; this explanation is 
usually ascribed to Mayo, 1 though Weitenkampf 2 had 
already proffered it early in the eighteenth century. 
Medical opinion on the point would certainly be that the 
occurrence is too rare at all events when established with 
surety 4o account for any such widely held belief, but 
I mention the idea at this point because it gives me the 
opportunity of saying something about the respective 
parts played by phantasy and reality in the forming of 
superstitious beliefs. Oddly enough, this is the only 
psychological explanation of the Vampire superstition 
that has ever been put forward; other explanations have 
mostly regarded the belief as a true one and have merely 
tried to show why it is true. This paucity of psycho- 
logical explanation in itself shows that essential factors 
must have been overlooked hitherto, and it is hoped that 
the present study will contribute something to our 
understanding of them. There are two other facts of 
reality that have also been adduced to explain, or rather 
to justify, the Vampire belief: they are the occurrence of 
epidemic mortality, especially in association with the 
idea of foul smell, and the fact that in various circum- 

1 H. Mayo, On the Truths contained in Popular Superstitions, 1851, p. 30. 
8 Weitenkampf, Gedanken uber wichtige Wahrheiten aus der Vernunft und 
Religion, 1735, TheilL S. 108 et seq. 


stances decomposition after death can be very much 
delayed. Now a general popular tendency may readily 
be remarked to rationalize all superstitions by explain- 
ing them in terms of reality, though the slightest in- 
vestigation shows that such explanations always leave 
the essentials unexplained. For instance, to say that the 
notion of its being unlucky to walk under a ladder simply 
proceeds from the observation that something may be 
dropped on to one so doing neither accounts for the dis- 
tribution of the fear for it cannot be supposed that only 
those who have the fear are the only people who have 
made this observation; on the contrary, it is more often 
quoted by those who are free from the fear nor for the 
demonstrable association between this fear and that of 
passing through holes in general. And in the present case 
the three facts just mentioned burial alive, epidemic 
mortality and delayed decomposition in no way in 
themselves explain why a dead body should change into 
an animal, fly through the air and commit sexual ex- 
cesses with sleeping people. Other factors must obviously 
be at work, and these we maintain are the essential ones. 
Psycho-analysis, both of superstitious beliefs general 
or individual and of other similar mental processes, 
shows that the essential factors are much more dynamic 
than mere observation of external phenomena. The un- 
conscious tendencies at work in the construction of these 
beliefs simply fortify and justify them by any rational- 
istic means they can seize on. It is the capacity for im- 
mediate and intuitive insight into this way in which the 
mind functions that distinguishes a psychological men- 
tality from others. 

The motives of love and hate discussed at length in 
this chapter show what extremely complex and what 
fundamental emotions are at work in the construction 
and maintenance of the Vampire superstition. It is one 
more product of the deepest conflicts that determine 
human development and fate those concerned with the 
earliest relationships to the parents. These come to their 
intensest expression in anxiety dreams, and in the present 


set of beliefs there is a number of features that point 
unequivocally to the conclusion that the terrible ex- 
periences there must have played an important part in 
moulding the beliefs in question. Such are: the occur- 
rence of the supposed events during sleep, the evident 
relation of the events to nocturnal emissions resulting 
from sexual particularly perversely sexual experi- 
ences, the Vampire's capacity for transformation, his 
flight by night, his appearance in animal form and, 
finally, the connection between the belief and that in the 
return of dead relatives. The belief is, in fact, only an 
elaboration of that in the Incubus, and the essential 
elements of both are the same repressed desires and 
hatreds derived from early incest conflicts. The main 
differences are that hate and guilt play a far larger part 
in the Vampire than in the Incubus belief, where the 
emotions are almost purely those of desire and fear. 

[Since this chapter was written two works on the sub- 
ject have appeared in English. One, Vampires and 
Vampirism, by Dudley Wright, is a popular account of 
the matter; the other, two volumes entitled The Vampire, 
His Kith and Kin, and The Vampire in Europe, by 
Montague Summers, is a learned, though not compre- 
hensive, study which unfortunately is written from the 
point of view of occultism and so contributes nothing 
directly to the psychology of the belief.] 




conception of the Werewolf is one of the most 
developed examples of the belief in the transfor- 
mation of men into animals, the sources of which 
were considered in the first chapter of this book. The 
other most important elements in this superstition are 
flight by night and cannibalism. 

The wolf belongs to the group of savage animals which 
have been extensively employed in mythology and folk- 
lore for the portrayal of cruel and sadistic phantasies. To 
the same class as Werewolves belong the men-hyenas of 
Abyssinia, 1 the men-leopards of South Africa, 2 the men- 
tigers of Hindustan, 3 the men-bears of Scandinavia, 4 in 
whose existence, according to Mogk, 5 the Norwegian 
peasants still believe. 

The allegorical significance of the wolf is easy to recog- 
nize. Hertz 6 writes: 'Betrachten wir nun speziell den 
Wolf, so erscheint er, das unersattlich mordgierige, bei 
Nacht und zur Winterszeit besonders gefahrliche Raub- 
tier, als das natiirliche Symbol der Nacht, des Winters 
und des Todes. . . . Der Wolf ist aber nicht allein das 
raubgierigste, er ist auch das schnellste, riistigste unserer 
grosseren vierfussigen Tiere. Diese seine Riistigkeit, 
seine wilde Kiihnheit, seine grausame Kampf- und Blut- 
gier verbunden mit seinem Hunger nach Leichenfleisch 
und seinen dadurch angeregten nachtlichen Besuchen 
der Totenfelder und Walstatten macht den Wolf zum 
Begleiter und Gefolgmann des Schlachtengottes/ ('If we 
now consider the wolf in particular, that insatiably 

1 The Life and Adventures of Nathaniel Pierce, edited by Halls, 1831, vol. i. 
p. 287. 

2 Marian Roalfe Cox, An Introduction to Folklore, 1904, p. 127. 

8 Ed. Clodd, Myths and Dreams, 1891, p. 85. Marian Roalfe Cox, loc. cit. 

4 Clodd, loc. cit. Marian Roalfe Cox, loc. cit. 

6 E. Mogk, Germanische Mythologie, 1906, S. 34. 

6 W. Hertz, Der Werwolf, Beitrag zur Sagengeschichte, 1862, S. 14, 15. 



murderous beast of prey, especially dangerous at night 
and in winter, he would appear to be the natural symbol 
of night, of winter and of death. . . . But the wolf is not 
only the most bloodthirsty, he is also the swiftest and 
lustiest of our larger quadrupeds. This hardiness, his 
fierce boldness, his cruel lust for fight and blood, to- 
gether with his hunger for the flesh of corpses which 
makes him a night visitor of battlefields, make the wolf 
the companion of the God of Battles/) 

The most prominent attributes which we may expect 
to have been used for the purposes of symbolism are thus 
swiftness of movement, insatiable lust for blood, cruelty, 
a way of attacking characterized by a combination 
of boldness and cunning craftiness, and further the 
associations with the ideas of night, death and corpse. 
As is easy to see, the savage and uncanny features char- 
acteristic of the wolf have made him specially suited to 
represent the dangerous and immoral side of nature in 
general and of human nature in particular. These features 
explain why the wolf has played a considerable part in 
different theologies. In Egypt the wolf was a sacred 
animal, and Osiris himself appeared in a wolf's shape 
when he returned from the dead to urge and help Horus 
take revenge on Set. 1 Two towns were named after the 
wolf, one in upper Egypt and one in lower Egypt. The 
wolf -god, Ap-uat, acted as a psychopomp, thus again 
illustrating the connection between the ideas of wolf and 
death, and opened the way to the gates of bliss, 2 a be- 
lief which psycho-analysts would associate with the in- 
fantile sadistic conception of coitus. In early times there 
were cannibalistic sacrifices to Ap-uat, 3 and in the 
Twelfth Dynasty he appears to have been regarded as 
the son of Osiris who defended him and walked in front 
of him at the ceremonial processions. 4 

In Teutonic mythology the two wolves, Freki and 

1 Diodor. Sic. Biblioth. i. 88. 

2 E. A. Wallis Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, 1911, vol. ii. 

pp. 159, 316- 

8 Wallis Budge, op. cit. vol. i. p. 197. 
4 Idem, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 5. 


Geri, were the companions of Odin, 1 although Grimm's 
view that they could represent the god himself appears 
to be doubtful. 2 The wolf Fenrir, the offspring of Loki 
and brother of Hel, the goddess of death, plays a central 
part in numerous myths. 3 Still better known is the story 
of Sigmund's and Sinfjotli's lives as werewolves, as 
narrated in the Volsunga Saga, 4 where also the mother 
of King Siggeir masquerades as a She- wolf. 5 St. Patrick 
is said to have changed Vereticus, King of Wales, into 
a wolf. 6 In America also the wolf is a sacred animal, as 
is shown by the religious wolf-dances of the Tonkanays 
in Texas; 7 the Ahts believe that men who go into the 
mountains to seek their manitou are after a time changed 
into wolves. The Nez Perces tribe in America believe 
that the whole human race is descended from a wolf. 8 

In Greece the wolf was sacred to the Sun God, who 
appeared in the form of a wolf as he slew the Telchines 
of Rhodes. 9 It has been keenly debated whether the title 
of the Lycaean Zeus was derived from Xwo? ( = wolf) or 
from \vtcr) (-light). Although many of the highest 
authorities have held the former view, the latest opinion 
would appear to favour the latter. 10 Nevertheless there 
is no question but that the wolf cult was closely associ- 
ated, through sacrifices, lycanthropic beliefs, etc., with 
the Lycaean Zeus, and Sir James Frazer 11 pertinently 
says: The connexion of Lycaean Zeus with wolves is too 
firmly established to allow us seriously to doubt that he 
is the wolf-god/ 

To the same confusion of words mentioned above has 
been ascribed also the oldest Werewolf legend that has 

1 A. Wuttke, Der deutsche Volksaberglaube der Gegenwart, Dritte Ausgabe, 
1900, S. 279. 

2 W. Mannhardt, Roggenwolf und Roggenhund, 1865, S. 50. 

3 B. Thorpe, Northern Mythology, 1851, vol. i. pp. 49-52. 

4 Volsunga Saga, translated by E. Magnusson and W. Morris, 1870 edition, 
p. 20. 

5 Ibid. p. 14. 

6 S. Baring-Gould, The Book of Were-Wolves, 1865, p. 58. 

7 H. R. Schoolcraft, cited by Clodd, op. at. p. 92. 

8 M. D. Conway, Demonology and Devil-Lore, 1879, vol. i. p. 141. 
* Hertz, op. cit. pp. 31-33. 

10 A. B. Cook, Zeus, 1914, vol. i. pp. 63, 64. 

11 J. G. Frazer, Pausanias, vol. iv. p. 386. 


come clown to us, namely, the well-known one of Lycaon, 
of which different versions have been related by Apollo- 
dor, Eratosthenes, Hyginus, Lycophron, Ovid and Pau- 
sanias; in this connection it is of interest to note that 
the Werewolf belief has persisted in Greece into modern 
times. 1 Some writers have even derived the whole sub- 
sequent Werewolf superstition to this. Fiske 2 mildly 
comments on this view: To suppose that Jean Grenier 
imagined himself to be a wolf, because the Greek word 
for wolf sounded like the word for light, and thus gave 
rise to the story of a light-deity who became a wolf, 
seems to me quite inadmissible/ One may add that it is 
typical of the conclusions reached when psychology is 
neglected in mythological studies. As elsewhere with 
mental processes, a superficial association here probably 
covers an inner connection of ideas. Two such connec- 
tions between the ideas of wolf and light or sun may be 
briefly mentioned; they both belong to the strong forces 
operative in creation. Swiftness of movement a promi- 
nent attribute of the wolf is in mythology often 
brought into connection with fruitfulness on the one 
hand and wind and sun on the other. The idea of the 
ceaseless movement of the sun is one of the reasons for 
its frequent association with the horse in Indian, Greek 
and Teutonic mythology, a topic which is dealt with at 
length in Part III of this book. The association of fer- 
tility with the swift wind is similarly widespread; 3 we 
need merely point to the Greek and Roman beliefs that 
the west wind can impregnate horses 4 and women, a be- 
lief which survived until recently in Portugal, 5 and further 
to the German custom of sowing when the west wind 
blows. 6 This is perhaps the reason why it was over the 

1 J. C. Lawson, Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion , 1910, 
p. 240. 

2 J. Fiske, Myths and Myth-Makers, 1872, p. 88. 

8 [The reader is referred to a study of this association in the author's Essays 
in Applied Psycho- Analysis, 1923, pp. 275-282.] 

4 E. S. Hartland, Primitive Paternity, 1909, vol. i. pp. 22, 35, 149, 150. M. 
jahns, -Ross und Reiter in Leben und Sprache, Glauben und Geschichte der 
Deutschen, 1872, Bd. i. S. 265. 

6 Th. de Cauzons, La Magie et la sorcellerie en France, 1911, t. i. p. 161. 

6 E. H. Meyer, Germanische Mythologie, 1891, S. 256. 


west door of Gladheim, the Teutonic world of bliss, that 
a wolf hung. 1 The second connection springs from the 
contrast association between begetting and destruction, 
between the fertilizing and the destructive power of the 
sun, 2 further between its effective warmth by day and 
in the summer hence its phallic symbolism 3 on the 
one hand, and its powerlessness and its descent at night 
and in the winter on the other. It is doubtless significant 
that Apollo, the Sun-God who was identified both with 
Zeus and with the wolf, before he became identified with 
the former was above all the God of Death, and in this 
connection we may recall that in Etruscan tomb-paint- 
ings Hades himself is coifed in a wolf -skin. 4 His associa- 
tion with the wolf is still older, since before she bore him 
his mother, Leto, turned into a wolf to hide herself from 
Hera's wrath. 

The wolf played a still more important part in Rome, 
as indeed the Romulus-Remus story itself indicates. 
There is reason to infer that in the original belief the 
founders of Rome were not only suckled by a wolf, but 
actually born of one: in other words, that the saga arose 
from a totemistic conception. 5 The priests of Soranus, the 
Sabine Death-God, who later became identified with 
Apollo, were called Hirpi ( = wolves), and a kind of 
robbery formed a part of their cult. In Rome the wolf 
was the sacred animal of Mars, who was also originally 
a Death-God. The God Lupercus probably represented a 
group of attributes split off from the personality of Mars 
and united to constitute a new Godhead. His wife 
Luperca stood for the wolf that suckled Romulus and 
Remus. Their priests were called Crepi, an older form of 
Capri ( = goats). Lupercus was only a subsidiary name 
of the God Faunus, Februus or Innus (from inire, to 
have intercourse). According to Schwegler, 6 the title 

Mogk, op. cit. S. 48. 

See Karl Abraham, Traum und My thus, 1909, S. 53. 

W. Schwartz, 'Der rothe Sonnenp hallos der Urzeit', Zeitschrift fur Ethno- 
logie, 1874, S. 167, 409. 
Cook, op. cit. p. 99. 

See Otto Rank, Der My thus von der Geburt des Helden, 1909, S. 40-44. 
F. C. A. Schwegler, Rdmische Geschichte, 1853-58, Bd. i. S. 361. 


Lupercus is derived from lupus and hircus, thus signify- 
ing wolf -goat: 'Bine Bezeichnung, welche die beiden 
Seiten der in Faunus sich darstellenden chthonischen 
Macht, die zerstorende lebenvernichtende und die her- 
vorbringende, lebenerzeugende als wesentliche Konnexe 
zumal ausspricht/ ('A designation which expresses at 
the same time both sides of the chthonic power repre- 
sented by Faunus, the life-destroying and the life-giv- 
ing/) The festival of the Lupercalia (February 15) seems 
to have represented purification through marriage. 
From the wordfebruare ( = inire), after which the month 
is named, comes Februata or Februaris, a subsidiary title 
of Juno the patron goddess of marriage. Werewolves 
were believed to exercise their baneful activities in 
February, 1 and, according to Andree, 2 most epidemics 
of Lycanthropy have in fact raged in this month. In re- 
ference to the sexual significance of the subject we may 
add a passage from Herman 3 : 'Auch im Italienischen 
bedeutete lupa sowohl Wolfin als auch Buhlerin (vulva) 
und aus den Tempeln der Luperca wurden die spateren 
Bordelle oder Lupanare/ ('In Italian lupa signifies both 
wolf and also wanton (or vulva) and the lupercal temples 
became the later brothels or Lupanars/) 

The etymology of the term Werewolf has given rise 
to many curious attempts; 4 it was first properly solved 
in the year 1211 by Gervasius of Tilbury. 'Wer' signifies 
man (Latin vir, Sanskrit viras: compare Wergeld). 'Wolf 1 
originally meant robber (Sanskrit Vricas); 6 in the Rig- 
Veda the wolf is called the robber, 6 and there was once 
the custom of hanging a wolf by the side ol every thief 
on the gallows. 7 The Romans used the generic term versi- 
pellis ( = skin-changer). The French word loup-garou 
(spelt by Bodin 8 loup-varou and by older writers loup- 

1 Donat de Hautemer, quoted by Guolart, Thrtsor des histoires admirables 
et mjmorables de nostre temps, 1600, t. i. p. 336. 

2 R. Andree, Revue de I'Orient, 1888. 

* G. Herman, 'Genesis', Bd. iii., Bakchanalien und Eleusinien, Zweite 
Auflage, S. 67. 

4 See Hertz, op, cit. S. 3, 4. 5 Hertz, op. cit. S. 56. 

* Con way, op. cit. p. 140. 

7 Hertz, op. cit. S. 57. 8 J. Bodin, Dtmonomanie, 1593, p. 195. 


warou 1 ) probably comes from the Norman garwolf 2 
(Werewolf), and hence is tautological. In later French it 
got written waroul, from which comes the Scottish wroul 
and worlin? 

The Werewolf superstition is exceedingly widespread; 
Hertz 4 has collected examples of it from the most diverse 
countries. The person concerned was generally believed 
to have been seized by an irresistible impulse, a ravenous 
craving, to have changed their appearance and roamed 
through the fields devouring sheep and other animals 
or even human beings, especially children. As a rule the 
state was a temporary one, recurring at night, and there 
could be long lucid intervals. Spontaneous transforma- 
tion into a wolf was as a rule achieved by the person 
either donning a wolf's skin 5 or by his merely turning 
his own skin inside out. 6 For he was supposed to wear 
a wolf's skin under his own, a belief which gave rise to 
horrible tortures in the Middle Ages, when suspected 
persons were hacked to pieces in the endeavour to find 
the hairy growth. 7 Hair and Werewolf were closely asso- 
ciated ideas, as is illustrated by the Russian name for 
Werewolf, Volkodlak' from volk = wolf, and dlak = hair. 
Werewolves could be recognized when in human form 
by having heavy eyebrows that met together, 8 or by 
having hair on the palms of their hands. The sexual 
association of hair is of course well known. It was 
believed that the wolf's skin could be discarded, and if 
it was burnt the particular subject lost the power of 
transforming himself into a wolf; 9 on the other hand, 
if one took away his human garment while he was in 
the wolf condition, he had to stay a wolf for ever. 10 This 
last point is a familiar motif in mythology, for example, 

1 See J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, Vierte Ausgabe, 1876, S, 916. 

2 Hertz, op. cit. S. 91. 

3 G. W. Dasent, Popular Tales from the Norse, second edition, 1903, p. cxli. 

4 See also J. Hansen, Zauberwahn, Inquisition und Hexenprozess im Mittel- 
alter, 1900, S. 19; and H. R. Schoolcraft, The Myth of Hiawatha, 1856, pp. 
136, 339- 

6 Meyer, op. cit. S. 69, 8 Fiske, op. cit. p. 89. 

7 Clodd, op. cit. p. 84. 8 Grimm, op. cit. S. 918. 
9 Marian Koalfe Cox, op. cit. p. 124. Grimm, op. cit. S. 917. 

10 Grimm, loc cit. 


in the fairy tales of swan-maidens. The wolf's skin could 
be donned only when the person was naked, 1 a feature 
that was worked up into an interesting incident in the 
celebrated old English tale of William and the Werewolf. 2 
The transformation was complete except for the eyes; 
the explanation Hertz 3 gives for this is: 'Da die Seele 
unverandert bleibt, so erfahrt auch das Auge, der Seele 
Spiegel, keine Veranderung; am Auge werden die Ver- 
wandelten erkannt.' ('Since the soul remains unchanged, 
so also does the eye, the mirror of the soul, undergo no 
change; one recognizes the transformed person by his 
eye/) In mythology, however, the eye may symbolize 
an important part of the body as well as the soul, an 
interpretation which fits better to the following vari- 
ant related by Grimm 4 : 'Em Mann wurde durch eine 
Hexe verwandelt, er heulte vor ihrer Tiir, um erlost 
zu werden, und nach drei Jahren gab sie nach und 
schenkte ihm eine menschliche Haut, um ihn damit zu 
befreien; er zog sie iiber sich, aber sie bedeckte seinen 
Schweif nicht, so dass er zwar wieder Menschengestalt 
erlangte, aber den Wolfsschwanz behielt/ ('A man had 
been transformed by a witch. He howled outside her 
door for deliverance, and after three years she relented 
and gave him a human skin with which to release him- 
self. He drew this over himself, but it did not cover his 
tail, so that when he regained human form the wolf's 
tail remained/) The idea is the same as in the story of 
the Devil, who is to be recognized by his cloven hoof 
which he cannot conceal. In both cases the phallic sym- 
bol of the animal nature remains an unalterable con- 
stituent of their being. 

The popular idea about the reasons why anyone 
became a Werewolf bears a remarkable resemblance to 
those concerning other mythological creatures, e.g. swan- 
maidens, etc., and it would lead us too far from our 
theme to enter on a full explanation of them here. The 

1 Grimm, loc. cit. 

8 The Ancient English Romance of William and the Werewolf, edited with an 
introduction and glossary by Sir Frederick Madden, 1832. 

3 Hertz, op. cit, S. 49. * Grimm, loc. cit. 


most prominent feature is the belief that such a trans- 
formation can come about in two quite different ways 
according as the person in question brought it about 
voluntarily or was forced into it against his will. In the 
latter contingency there were three causes: Fate, magic 
and sin; with the first two of these it was his misfortune, 
with the third his fault. A saint or ecclesiastic could 
condemn a wicked person to become a Werewolf, usually 
for a term of years, a sentence very like excommunica- 
tion; again a witch or devil could bring it about, with 
or without the person's consent. Thus, sinful women 
were turned into wolves for a space of years, usually 
seven. 1 To transmogrify someone into a Werewolf a hide 
or a girdle of human skin was necessary, but sometimes 
a plain ring would suffice. The spell, particularly when 
due to fate, could be broken in various ways, the usual 
methods being to call him by his baptismal name, 2 
to tell him that he was a Werewolf, 3 i.e. to reproach him 
with being one, or merely to recognize him; 4 a peculiarly 
appropriate measure, which must remind us of the 
method of 'releasing' a Vampire by eating his flesh, was 
to make three sharp stabs at his forehead. 5 

When the mediaeval scholastic theologians got to work 
on the problem they accepted the facts, but, whereas 
some were of opinion that the animal transformation 
really happened, others maintained that it was merely a 
deception of the devil's. 6 All agreed, however, that the 
proper treatment of the condition was to destroy, pre- 
ferably to burn, the unfortunate object. Bodin 7 defends 
the correctness of this procedure as follows: Tlusieurs 
medecins voyant une chose si estrange, et ne s^achant 
point la raison, pour ne sembler rien ignorer, ont diet et 
laisse par escript, que la Lycanthropie est une maladie 
d'hommes malades qui pensent estre loups, et vont 

1 A. von Haxthausen, Transkaukasia, 1856, Bd. i, S. 322. B. Stern, Medizin, 
Aberglaube und Geschlechtsleben in der Turkei, 1903, Bd. ii. S. 359. 
a Grimm, loc. cit. Hertz, op. cit. S. 84. 
8 Grimm, op. cit. S. 918. Thorpe, op. cit, vol. ii. p. 169. 
* Fiske, op. cit. p. 92. Hertz, op. cit. S. 85. 
6 Baring-Gould, op. cit. p. 107. 
6 Hertz, op. cit. S, 7, 8. 7 Bodin, op. cit. pp 201, 202. 


courans parmy les bois: Et de cet advis est Paul Aeginet: 
mais il faudroit beaucoup de raisons, et de tesmoings, 
pour dementir tous les peuples de la terre, et toutes 
les histoires, et mesmement Thistoire sacr6e, que Theo- 
phraste Paracelse, et Pomponace, et mesmement Fernel 
les premiers Medecins et Philosophes qui ont este de leur 
aage, et de plusieurs siecles, ont tenu la Lycanthropie 
pour chose tres-certaine, veritable et indubitable. Aussi 
est ce chose bien fort ridicule de mesurer les choses 
naturelles aux choses supernaturelles, et les actions des 
animaux, aux actions des esprits et Daemons. Encores 
est plus absurde d'alleguer la maladie, qui ne seroit sinon 
en la personne du Lycanthrope, et non pas de ceux qui 
voyent rhomme changer en beste, et puis retourner en sa 
figure/ The most important changes that the Church 
brought about in this superstitious idea related to the 
cause of the supposed events. Innocent Werewolves had 
been laid under a spell by the Devil or else by witches 
under his orders. The guilty ones had been affected on 
account of their sins, which usually consisted of heresy 
or of standing in relation with the Devil. A special 
variant of Werewolf was the Biixenwolf (Biixen is Low 
German for trousers), who possessed this privilege in 
return for making a pact with the Devil. 1 The heathen 
idea that the transformation could be brought about by 
decree of fate was not reinforced by the Church; but 
there is one example of Christian influence in this direc- 
tion, namely, the belief that a child born on Christmas 
Day was destined to become a Werewolf: the reason 
proffered for this was that its mother had dared to con- 
ceive on the same day as the Virgin Mary. 2 

It is comprehensible that the belief in Werewolves 
played a great part during the era of witch persecutions. 
Hertz 3 writes: 'In der christlichen Zeit, wo man die 
Existenz der heidnischen Gotter zugab, um sie fur Teufel 
erklaren zu konnen . . . entstand mit dem Hexenglauben 
die Vorstellung von Menschen, die sich mit Hilfe des 

1 Hertz, op. cit. S. 87. f Stern, op. cit. S. 363. 

8 Hertz, op. cit. S. 134. 


Satans aus reiner Mordlust zu Wolfen verwandeln. So 
wurde der Werwolf in duster poetischer Symbolik das 
Bild des tierisch Damonischen in der Menschennatur, der 
unersattlichen gesamtfeindlichen Selbstsucht, 1 welche 
alten und modernen Pessimisten den harten Spruch in 
den Mund legte: Homo homini lupus/ ('In the Christian 
era, when one admitted the existence of heathen gods so 
as to explain them away as devils . . . there arose with 
the belief in witches the idea of men who from pure lust 
of murder used Satan's help to turn themselves into 
wolves. The Werewolf thus became in sinister poetical 
symbolism the image of the animal and demoniacal in 
human nature, of the insatiable egotism that is the 
enemy of the whole world, 1 which inspired old and 
modern pessimists to the hard saying: Homo homini 
lupus/) It was believed that Werewolves gathered to- 
gether just as witches did, that they travelled through 
the air, held a Sabbath, showed reverence to their Master 
who impressed his sign on them (stigma), and indulged 
in sexual orgies among themselves. 2 Many of these de- 
tails were made public at the trials, such as that of 
Verdun and Burgot in the year 1521, of which many 
reports have come down to us; 3 both were burned in 
Besan^on. According to de Lancre 4 these victims ad- 
mitted 'qu'ils prenoyent autant de plaisir lors qu'ils 
s'accouploient brutalement auec les louues, que lors 
qu'ils s'acointoyent humainement euec des femmes'. 
They further described how the Devil had transformed 
them into wolves by rubbing them with an ointment; 
those accused in a trial at Salzburg in the year 1717 made 
the same confession. The anointing evidently refers to 
the well-known witch's ointment. 
Werewolves, just as witches, had a special relation to 

1 [This expression must remind one of Freud's recent conception of a 

2 H. Freimark, Okkultismus und Sexualitat, S. 319. 

8 H. Boguet, Discours des sorciers, 1603, p. 370. L. F. Calmiel, De la folie, 
1845, t. 1. p. 234. Remigius, Daemonolatria, 1698, vol. ii. p. 183. J. F. Wolfes- 
husius, De lycanthropia, 1591, p. 31. 

4 Pierre de Lancre, Tableau de Vinconstance des mauvais anges et demons, 
1612, p. 321. 


cats, and in many respects form a counterpart to them. 
The wolf was sacred to Odin, the cat to his wife Freya. 1 
Male magicians transform themselves into wolves, female 
ones into cats 2 ; further, the details of the procedure are 
in both cases the same. 3 The two motifs are combined in 
an old Tartar heroic saga 4 : 'Buriih-Chan, ein Herrscher 
iiber sechshundert Wolfe, lebte bald als ein goldglan- 
zender Wolf, bald als Mensch. Der Knabe Altenkok 
fangt ihn in einer Schlinge und fordert von ihm auf den 
Rat eines Greises die Katze, welche er in seinem Zelte 
hege. Als sie der Knabe nach Hause gebracht, ver- 
wandelt sie sich in ein schones Weib; denn sie ist die 
Tochter des Wolfsfiirsten, der nun seinem Eidam reiche 
Mitgift schenkt/ ('Buriih-Khan, a ruler over six hundred 
wolves, passed part of his time as a wolf gleaming like 
gold, 5 part of it as a human being. The boy Altenkok 
caught him in a trap, and on the advice of an old man 
demanded of him the cat which he kept in his tent. 
When the boy brought her home she turned into a 
beautiful maiden, for she was the daughter of the wolf- 
chieftain, who now bestowed a rich dowry on his son-in- 
law/) Finally, according to Majolus, 6 the Werewolves in 
Courland actually hate witches and destroy them when- 
ever they can; this is evidently connected with the 
legend in which the ghostly legion indulges in a wild 
pursuit of pixies. 

In consequence of the attention devoted to the sub- 
ject by the Church, Werewolf trials became pretty fre- 
quent towards the end of the sixteenth century; in some 
districts, for instance in the Jura, 7 the cases assumed an 
epidemic form. Most of the accused admitted their guilt, 
and described in detail their transmogrification, together 
with their nocturnal deeds of devouring animals and 
human beings. The most celebrated trials were those of 


Grimm, op. cit. S. 873. 2 Grimm, op. cit. S. 915. 

Hertz, op. cit. S. 71-74. 

M. A. Castren, Ethnologische Vorlesungen iiber die altalschen Volker, 1857, 


Compare the above reference to wolf and brightness or light. 
De Lancre, op. cit. p. 307. 7 Clodd, op. cit. p. 83. 


four persons, Jaques Bocquet, Clauda Jamprost, Clauda 
Janguillaume and Thievenne Paget, in I538, 1 Gilles 
Gernier in I573, 2 of four members of the Gandillon fam- 
ily in I598 3 and of Jean Grenier in i6o3 4 ; three of the 
Gandillons were hanged and burned, the fourth was torn 
to pieces by the people. A Werewolf was executed in 
Salzburg as recently as 1720. 5 In France the belief was 
given its death-blow early in the eighteenth century by 
an anonymous satire, the author of which was the Abbe 
Bourdelot: 'Les aventures de Monsieur Oufle' (anagram 
for le fou). The belief in the real existence of Werewolves 
has by no means died out: Krauss 6 relates a fully de- 
veloped Werewolf story from the Balkans in the year 
1888. I have myself spoken to people in France who 
firmly believed in their existence, and the belief is also 
still held in French-Canada. 7 

The relationship between the beliefs in Werewolves 
and in Incubi is a somewhat indirect one, as will be pre- 
sently shown, but it is remarkable what a close connec- 
tion exists between the former and the popular equi- 
valent of the latter, namely, the belief in the male and 
female Nightmare bogies (German Alp and Mahre re- 
spectively) from which the Incubus concept was derived. 
The seventh son, for instance, is destined to become a 
Werewolf, 8 the seventh daughter a Night-hag. 9 Accord- 
ing to a Danish tradition, if a woman stretches a foal's 
caul over four sticks and creeps through it naked at 
midnight, she will bear her future children without pain, 
but every boy will be a Werewolf and every girl a Night- 
hag. 10 This may be compared with the following Scandi- 
navian superstition: 'When a woman procures an easy 
labour for herself by creeping through a horse's collar, 

1 Boguet, op. cit. p. 363. * Bodin, op. cit. p. 192. 

Boguet, loc. cit. * P. de Lancre, op. cit. p. 313. 

Sigm. Riezler, Geschichte der Hexenprozesse in Bayern, 1896, S. 293. 
F. S. Krauss, Slavische Volksforschungen, 1908, S. 139. 
Beaugrand, La Chasse galerie. Legendes canadiennes, 1900, pp. 36-54. 
L. Strackerjan, Aberglaube und Sagen aus dem Herzogt. Oldenburg, 1867, 
Bd. i. S. 377. 

* F. F. A. Kuhn und F. L. W. Schwarz, Norddeutsche Sagen, Marchen und 
Gebrduche, 1848, S. 420. 
10 Meyer, op. cit. S. 67. Thorpe, loc. cit. 


the child becomes a night-bogey (an Alp).' 1 According 
to Meyer 2 : 'Die Katzen, die unter einen Sarg und von da 
unter das Bett eines Neugeborenen springen, konnen 
dasselbe in einen Werwolf oder eine Mahr verwandeln.' 
('A cat that has climbed under a coffin and then under 
the bed of an infant can transform the latter into a 
Werewolf or a Night-hag according to its sex/) Witches 
possess the same power, and children that have not been 
protected against them by baptism are called heathen 
wolves. 8 The Werewolf gets into a house through the 
water vent, as a Night-hag enters through the key-hole. 4 
One can recognize a Werewolf by his eyebrows meeting 
in the middle, just as one does a male 5 or a female 6 
night-bogey (Alp or hag) that oppress people during 
sleep, as well as Indian magicians. 7 The wolf-shirt is as 
important to a Werewolf as her swan-shirt to a swan- 
maiden. The children of the rye-fiend (Roggenfrau) , whose 
function it is to oppress rye-workers during their siesta, 
become rye-wolves (Roggenwolfe) , who operate under 
the same conditions. 8 Finally, the release of the Were- 
wolf from his spell proceeds along almost identical lines 
as that of the Night-hag, the swan-maiden, etc. 

Perhaps the most convincing proof of the connection 
is to be found in the fact that on the Danish island of 
Bornholm the name for a male night-fiend (Alp) is 
'manil', a word compounded of 'mara' and Varul' - 
werewolf. 9 

Like the Incubi, or rather their popular equivalent of 
night-bogey (Alp), Werewolves were regarded as con- 
nected with the souls of the deceased, i.e. revenant an- 
cestors. 10 

The connections between the Werewolf and Vampire 
superstitions are even closer. To begin with, we have the 

I. and O. von Duringsfeld, cited by Freimark, op. cit. S. 409. 
Meyer, op. cit. S. 68. 8 Meyer, loc. cit. 

Meyer, op. cit. S. 69. * Wuttke, op. cit. S. 275. 

T. W. Wolf, Zeitschrift fur deutsche Mythologie, 1853, Jahrgang. i. S. 198. 
Somadeva. 8 Mannhardt, op. cit. S. 31. 

Wolf von Unwerth, 'Eine islandische Mahrensage', Worter und Sachen, 
Kulturhistorische Zeitschrift fur Sprach- und Sachforschung, 1910, Bd. ii. S. 182. 
10 Fiske, op. cit. pp. 76, 77. 


belief prevailing in the south-east of Europe that Were- 
wolves become Vampires after their death. A modern 
refinement of this belief, prevailing in Elis, is that even 
those who eat the flesh of a sheep that had been killed 
by a wolf may become Vampires after their death. 1 
Naturally it is in this part of the world, where the belief 
in Vampires was most firmly rooted, that the two ideas 
are most closely associated, 2 although two of the best 
authorities, Andree 3 and Krauss, 4 maintain that they 
can always be distinguished. But the mere fact that the 
Slav word vukodlac (the Servian variant), which origin- 
ally meant Werewolf, is generally used in Bulgaria and 
Servia to designate a Vampire, 5 undoubtedly means that 
the people saw a close connection between the two ideas. 
In Russian the word was volkodlak, in Czech vilkodlak. 
In Greece the same word, there spelt vrykolakas, is also 
the general term for a Vampire, though it is of interest 
to note that it is still occasionally used in its original 
sense of Werewolf, 6 and that on the outlying islands, 
where the Slavonic influence penetrated less, the older 
Greek terms for Vampire still persist. 7 Under the Greek 
Church it was believed that a child born on Christmas 
Day was destined to become a Vampire, under the 
Roman that it would become a Werewolf. 

The Werewolf, although not so regularly as the Vam- 
pire, has many associations with the idea of Death. The 
close connection between the wolf and the Death Gods 
of antiquity was indicated above. The ghost wolf in his 
role as psychopomp plays as important a part as the 
ghostly wild dog 8 ; even in later times the howling of a 
wolf or of a dog has been regarded as a death omen. He 
is connected with the ideas of travel by night and night- 
riding in general. The terrible night fiends of Northern 
folklore, who are among the ancestors of the mediaeval 

1 Curtius Wachsmutt, Das alte Griechenland im Neuen, 1864, S. 117. 
Hertz, op. cit. S. 113. Wuttke, op. cit. S. 278. 
R. Andr6e, Ethnologische Parallelen und Vergleiche, 1878. 
Krauss, op. cit. S. 137. 5 Grimm, op. cit. S. 880-881. 

C. Robert, Les Slaves de Turquie, 1844, t. i. p. 69. 
Lawson, op. cit. p. 384. 
W. W. Sikes, British Goblins, 1880, pp. 233-236, 



witches, rode on wolves. 1 Many legends of Werewolves 
evidently spring from the related idea of the ghostly 
furious host and the wild hunt. Peucer's 2 description 
of the night march of thousands of Werewolves led by a 
huge man armed with a whip made of chains evidently 
the Devil is strikingly reminiscent of the numerous 
stories of this theme. 3 According to Mannhardt, 4 even 
the rye-wolf, like the hound of the wild hunt, was 
thought to be a psychopomp, i.e. to convey souls. 

In this connection it is important to note that a 
Werewolf may be not only a transmogrified living man, 
but also a corpse which has arisen from the grave in the 
form of a wolf, a variety known as a ghost Werewolf. 
Hertz 6 relates the following case: 'Ein merkwiirdiges 
Beispiel ist der gefahrliche und grausame Wolf von 
Ansbach im Jahre 1685, welcher fur das Gespenst des 
verstorbenen Biirgermeisters gehalten wurde/ ('A curi- 
ous example was the dangerous and cruel wolf of. Ans- 
bach in the year 1685 which was taken to be the ghost 
of the deceased Mayor/) The wolf was finally killed. 
'Darauf zog man ihm die Haut ab fur die fiirstliche 
Kunstkammer, machte ihm von Pappe ein Menschen- 
gesicht mit einem Schonbart lang und weissgraulich, ein 
Kleid von gewichster fleischfarbrotlicher Leinwand und 
eine kastanienbraune Pemicke; so wurde er auf dem 
"Niirnberger Berg vor Onolzbach" an einem eigens dazu 
errichteten Schnellgalgen aufgehangt/ ('Whereupon his 
skin was removed and preserved in the Royal Museum, 
while the body was decked with a human mask wearing 
a long grey beard, a garment of shining flesh-coloured 
linen and a chestnut wig. In this fashion he was hanged 
on a specially erected gallows on the Nuremberg "Berg 
vor Onolzbach." ') As a rule the transformed corpse was 
believed to be that of a damned soul who could find no 
rest in his grave, 6 this being again a point of contact 
with the Vampire belief. An historic example of this is 

1 Grimm, loc. cit. a C. Peucer, Les Devins, 1584, p. 198. 

8 Grimm, op. cit. ch. xxxi. * Mannhardt, op. cit. S. 31. 

6 Hertz, op. cit. S. 88. 6 Hertz, op. cit. S. 109. 


the case of King John 'Lackland' of England, whose 
dead body was believed to have been changed into a 
Werewolf as the result of the papal excommunication. 
Bosquet 1 writes concerning this: 'Ainsi se trouva com- 
pletement realise le funestre presage attache a son sur- 
nom Sans-Terre, puisqu'il perdit de son vivant presque 
tous les domaines soumis a sa suzerainete, et que, meme 
apres sa mort, il ne put conserver la paisible possession 
de son tombeau/ 

Over and over again the behaviour of the Werewolf 
closely resembles that of the Vampire. In Armenia sinful 
women are punished by having to pass seven years as 
female Werewolves; when the horrible wolfish lusts seize 
them they first devour their own children, then those of 
their relatives, and then strange children, in the same 
order as Vampires follow. 2 Another Armenian monster, 
the Dachnavar, that stands between the Werewolf and 
Vampire, sucks the blood from the soles of a passer-by. 3 
According to Hertz 4 : 'Am auffallendsten die Vermischung 
der Vorstellungen von Werwolf und Vampir in Danziger 
Sagen, wo es heisst, man miisse den Werwolf verbrennen, 
nicht begraben; denn er habe in der Erde keine Ruhe 
und erwache wenige Tage nach der Bestattung; im Heiss- 
hunger fresse er sich dann das Fleisch von den eigenen 
Handen und Fiissen ab, und wenn er nichts mehr an 
seinem Korper zu verzehren habe, wiihle er sich um 
Mitternacht aus dem Grabe hervor, falle in die Herden 
und raube das Vieh oder steige gar in die Hauser, 
um sich zu den Schlafenden zu legen und ihnen das 
warme Herzblut auszusaugen; nachdem er sich daran 
gesattigt habe, kehre er wieder in sein Grab zuriick. Die 
Leichen der Getoteten findet man aber des anderen 
Tages in den Betten und nur eine kleine Bisswunde auf 
der linken Seite der Brust zeigt die Ursache ihres Todes 
an/ (The most striking admixture of the conceptions 
of Werewolf and Vampire occurs in the Dantsic legend, 

1 A. Bosquet, La Normandie romanesque et merveilleuse, 1845, p. 238. 

a Hertz, op. cit. S. 28. 

8 Stern, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 359. 4 Hertz, op. cit. S. 89. 


which runs as follows. A Werewolf must be burnt not 
buried, for he has no rest in the earth and will awaken a 
few days after the burial. In his ravenous hunger he then 
devours the flesh of his own hands and feet, and when 
he can find nothing more in his own body to eat he 
burrows out of the grave at midnight, attacks the sheep 
and cattle, or even climbs into houses so as to lie on 
those asleep and suck the warm heart's blood out of 
them; after he has sated himself he returns to his grave. 
The bodies of the murdered people are found in their 
beds the next day with only a small bite on the left 
side of the breast to show the cause of their death/) 
Werewolves have even been confounded with ghouls: in 
France a special kind of Werewolves, called Loubins, 
visited the churchyards in hordes in order to devour 
the corpses. 1 

We see, therefore, that the revenant motif is common 
to the Vampire and Werewolf superstitions, while from 
the blood-sucking of the former to the devouring lust 
of the latter is only a small step, corresponding as it 
evidently does to the development from the first to the 
second oral stage of infantile sexuality. The two concep- 
tions are thus throughout interwoven with each other. 

We have now to consider the psychological meaning 
of the superstitious belief in Werewolves. The three 
essential constituents of the belief are, as we have seen, 
the ideas of animal transformation, of ravenous can- 
nibalism and of nocturnal wandering. I shall argue that 
the most important contributions to these three elements 
were furnished by the experiences of anxiety dreams of 
a kind that represent only a slight elaboration of the 
typical Nightmare. In this connection Wundt 2 cautiously 
remarks: 'Ebenso enthalt der Werwolf my thus moglicher- 
weise in der Umschniirung des Leibes mit dem Giirtel 
aus Wolfshaut, die die Umwandlung eines Menschen in 
den Wolf bewirken soil, sowie in den die Oberwaltigung 

1 Donat de Hautemer, loc. cit. F. Pluquet, Contes populaires, 1834, P- *4 
8 W. Wundt, Volkerpsychologie, Zweiter Band. Mythus und Religion, Zweiter 
Teil, 1906, S. 120. 


des Opfers durch den Werwolf begleitenden Angstge- 
fiihlen, Wirkungen der Alp und verwandten Angst- 
traume, wie sich denn auch die Vampyr und die Wer- 
wolfsage an manchen Orten gemischt haben. Auch spielen 
hierbei ausserdem die teils im Traum, teils in der geisti- 
gen Stoning vorkommenden Vorstellungen der Tierver- 
wandlung ihre Rolle/ ('It is possible that the Werewolf 
myth similarly contains effects of Nightmares and allied 
anxiety dreams, notably in the idea that the trans- 
formation of a human being into a wolf was supposed 
to have been brought about by encircling the body with 
a girdle of wolf -skin, as also in the feelings of terror 
experienced by the victim who was overpowered by the 
Werewolf; it is to be noted further how the Werewolf 
and Vampire legends have intermingled in many parts 
of the world. The ideas of animal transformation, which 
occur both in dreams and in mental disturbances, also 
play their part here/) 

In the first place, the very fact that the phenomena 
in question were supposed to occur at night, and during 
the sleep of the victims, should lead one to suspect an 
origin in dream experiences. In the second place, the 
extraordinary intermingling and interchangeability of 
the Werewolf with the Incubus and Vampire beliefs, 
both of which we have shown to have probably been 
derived in the main from dream experiences, would 
strongly suggest a similar origin here also. In the third 
place, the three elements enumerated above bear speci- 
ally close relations to the motifs of anxiety dreams. 

It is interesting that any two of these three elements 
can occur together without the third: (i) Nocturnal 
wandering and animal transformation we are already 
familiar with in the case of the Vampire. (2) Animal 
transformation and cannibalistic lust are found together 
with the rye-wolf (Roggenwolf) . He does not wander by 
night, it is true, but it is to be noted that his depreda- 
tions take place during the (mid-day) sleep of the victims. 
(3) Nocturnal wandering and cannibalistic lust often 
occur together apart from the idea of animal transforma- 


tion. Thus the Thessalians, Epirotes and Wallachians 
believe in somnambulists who wander about by night 
and tear human beings with their teeth. 1 From this idea 
of behaving like a wolf it is only a step to actual 
transformation into a wolf. 

We have previously traced the belief in animal trans- 
formation largely to dream experiences. 

The belief in night wandering, i.e. the belief that a 
given person can be in two places at the same time, 
certainly originates, as does actual somnambulism, also 
from dream experiences, for its development can still 
be observed among savages. It was believed that the 
real body of the Werewolf lay asleep in bed while his 
spirit roved the woods in the form of a wolf 2 ; further, 
when the wolf was wounded, corresponding wounds 
were to be found on the human body that remained at 
home. 8 The similarity with the ideas of savages on 
dreams, such as were pointed out in the first chapter, 
is plain enough. There are various sources for these 
travelling dreams, since they can symbolize a consider- 
able number of repressed wishes: the wish for freedom 
from compulsion, one which the idea of a wolf very well 
represents, 4 and especially for independence from the 
father; the wish for heightened potency, symbolized by 
swift movement, etc. The ultimate source of interest in 
movement is to be sought in the sexual component of 
agreeable sensations of this kind experienced by the 
infant. 5 

The third element would in psycho-analytical termi- 
nology be described as an oral-sadistic or cannibalistic 
impulse. That the lust for tearing and devouring flesh 
is oral-sadistic in nature is evident to anyone acquainted 
with sexual pathology, and has, indeed, been pointed out 

1 Stern, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 360. See also B. Schmidt, Volksleben der Neugriechen, 
1871, Bd. i. S. 166. 

* A good example of this is described by A. Lercheimer, Ein christliches 
Bedenken und Erinnerung von Zauberei, Dritte Auflage, 1597, Kap. xii. 

8 J. W. Wolf, Niederldndische Sagen, Nr. 242, 243, 501. 

4 Conway, op. cit. p. 141. 

5 Sigm. Freud, Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie, Zweite Auflage, 1910, 
S. 53, 54. [Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. v. S. 76.] 


by various other writers. 1 The wolf symbolism is speci- 
ally well suited to represent this, and the effect is 
heightened by the fact that Werewolves were supposed 
to be even more savage than other wolves. Sadistic 
tendencies prove in analysis to be derived from two 
sources. On the one hand we have the primary sadistic 
erotism of the young child, beginning with the oral- 
sadistic attitude towards the mother's breast in which 
connection we recall the essentially dental nature of 
the wolf sadism and revealing itself most typically in 
the classical belief in the sadistic conception of parental 
coitus. On the other hand there is the jealous hostility 
later sexualized against the parent of the same sex, so 
that both sources of sadism are rooted in the Oedipus 
complex. It is perhaps not a matter of chance that hatred 
of the father was a striking characteristic in the actual 
cases of Lycanthropy, 2 i.e. where people really imagined 
that they wandered about at night in the guise of wolves. 
The cannibalistic idea of devouring human flesh, so 
characteristic of the Werewolf superstition, is derived 
from both the sources just mentioned, i.e. the erotic and 
the hostile; in the unconscious, as we know well from 
psycho-analysis, there is for these different motives the 
wish to devour both the loved and the hated object. 3 

These sadistic tendencies have, of course, many mani- 
festations in waking life, but the majority of them, e.g., 
those that lie behind certain neurotic symptoms, are 
veiled, and very seldom reach elsewhere the fierce 
intensity which is so frequently met with in certain 
types of anxiety dreams. This consideration would lead 
one to ascribe to such dreams a considerable part in 
generating beliefs founded on the sadistic tendency, 
though not such a predominant one as with the two 
other elements discussed above. 

1 See, for example, Clodd, op. cit. p. 84. Dankmar, 'Curiosa aus der Teufels- 
periode des Mittelalters', Psychische Studien, 1899, Jahrg. xxvi. S. 27, 80, and, 
best of all, Baring-Gould, op. cit. ch. ix. 

8 De Lancre, op. cit. p. 317. 

3 [In his book on Totem und Tabu, 1913, Freud has, in connection with 
the totemistic banquet, shown the importance of cannibalism for the develop- 
ment of religious ideas.] 


From this point of view it is not surprising to hear 
that the group of unconscious ideas that lies behind the 
belief in, and fear of, Werewolves occasionally bursts 
through into consciousness in a positive form, with the 
result that the person afflicted with the delusion of being 
a wolf indulges in corresponding behaviour. As early 
as in the second century a medical work, by Marcellus 
Sidetes, 1 pointed out that Lycanthropy was a form of 
insanity. He says that men are most attacked with this 
madness in February, that they skulk in cemeteries and 
live alone like ravening wolves. Clinically they would 
be classified as cases of sadism, frequently combined 
with cannibalism and necrophilia; they may or may not 
be associated with an actual lycanthropic delusion, there 
being many authentic examples of both. 

In this connection it is interesting to note that the 
ideas associated with that of wolves reveal how pro- 
foundly the people apprehend the essence of anti-social 
behaviour to be sadistic in nature. 2 For instance, the 
Norse word vargr meant both wolf and a godless man. 
It is cognate with the Anglo-Saxon wearg, a scoundrel, 
Gothic vargs, a fiend. The Ancient Norman laws said of 
criminals condemned to outlawry, Wargus esto: be an 
outlaw (or wolf); in the Lex Ripuaria the expression was 
'Wargus sit, hoc est expulsus'. In the laws of Canute 
an outlaw was actually designated a verevulf. Among the 
Anglo-Saxons an outlaw was said to have the head of a 
wolf, and the legal form of sentence ran: 'He shall be 
driven away as a wolf, and chased so far as men chase 
wolves farthest/ 3 This is doubtless also the meaning of 
the following passage in the first chapter of the Volsunga 
Saga: Thus it is well seen that Sigi has slain the thrall and 
murdered him; so he is given forth to be a wolf in holy 
places, and may no more abide in the land with his father.'* 

1 See W. H. Roscher, 'Das von der "Kynanthropie" handelnde Fragment 
des Marcellus von Side' in the Abhandlungen* der sdchsichen Gesellschaft der 
Wissenschaften, Phil.-hist. Classe, 1897, Bd. xvii. Teil 3, S. 1-92. 

2 [Cp. Freud's Das Unbehagen in der Kultur, 1930.] 

8 These data are all taken from Baring-Gould, op. cit. pp. 48, 49. 
4 Italics not in original. 


The psychological relationship between the Vampire 
and Werewolf superstitions may be shortly expressed. 
The former is much more closely connected with the 
revenant idea, though, as we have seen, the difference 
between the two in this respect is one of degree only. 
Further, whereas the Vampire belief is more concerned 
with sucking tendencies, both oral and vaginal, the 
Werewolf one is throughout sadistic in nature. The 
Incubus and Werewolf superstitions may be thus con- 
trasted: in the former belief the attention is more con- 
centrated on the emotions of the person who has been 
attacked in sleep by a monster, in the latter on the atti- 
tude of the attacking monster himself. It may be said 
that the masochistic component of the sexual instinct 
comes to expression in the Incubus belief, the sadistic 
in the Werewolf one; but it must be added that the 
former belief is constituted rather from the genital phase 
of libidinal development, the latter from a pregenital 
one, and this is the reason why the Incubus belief is more 
connected with the pure Nightmare experience and the 
Werewolf one with other, allied forms of anxiety dream. 



INTO the construction of the idea of the Devil, the re- 
presentative of the evil in man, there has entered an 
almost countless number of different factors. Analytic 
study of similar constructions of the human phantasy 
shows, however, that most of these factors are merely 
contributory, each phantasy being grouped around a 
central nucleus. It is not my purpose here, even if I had 
the capacity, to attempt to deal with these contributory 
factors in detail, and I propose to select out of the many 
problems contained in the subject the following three 
for discussion: (i) What is the central psychological 
meaning of the belief? (2) How did it come to be so 
prominent and sharply defined at a particular epoch? 
(3) In what relation does it stand to the experiences of 
the Nightmare? 

In a psychological study we must start from the 
assumption that the Devil is a creation not of heaven, 
as the theologians still teach, but of the human mind. 
As Graf 1 says: 'Er wurde nicht vom Himmel herab- 
gestiirzt, sondern erhob sich aus den Abgriinden der 
menschlichenSeele/ ('He was not cast down from heaven, 
but arose out of the depths of the human soul.') And 
that these depths, when fully explored, will be found to 
be definitely susceptible of comprehension there can be 
as little doubt. Freud 2 writes: 'Der Teufel ist doch gewiss 
nichts anderes als die Personifikation des verdrangten 
unbewussten Trieblebens' ('For the Devil is certainly 
nothing else than the personification of the repressed, 
unconscious instinctual life 1 ), and Silberer 3 adds: 'Der 

1 A. Graf, Geschichte des Teufelsglaubens, Zweite Auflage, tibersetzt von R. 
Teuscher, 1893, S. 2. 

2 Sigm. Freud, 'Charakter und Analerotik', Sammlung kleiner Schriften zur 
Neurosenlehre, Zweite *Folge, 1909, S. 136. [Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. v. 
S. 265, Collected Papers, vol. ii. p. 49.] 

8 H. Silberer, 'Phantasie und Mythos', Psychoanalytisches Jahrbuch, 1910, 
Bd. ii. S. 592. 


PT. ii CH. vi THE DEVIL 155 

Teufel und die finsteren damonischen Gestalten der 
Mythen sind, psychologisch genommen, funktionale 
Symbole, Personifikationen des unterdriickten, nicht 
sublimierten elementaren Trieblebens/ (The Devil and 
the sombre daemonic figures of the myths are psycho- 
logically regarded functional symbols, personifications 
of the suppressed and unsublimated elements of the in- 
stinctual life/) Our first problem, therefore, is to ascer- 
tain which components of the instinctual life constitute 
the source of the belief in the Devil. 

This question evidently belongs to the series of those 
that have to do with anxiety emotions. The whole his- 
tory of the Devil is one of constant dread, and indeed so 
strongly was it impregnated with this emotion that the 
very presence of a Devil in disguise could be detected by 
the intense dread and terror he left behind, one which 
had the effect of making the bystanders paralysed, mute 
and ice-cold. 1 As a starting-point for our investigation 
may be taken a remark of Pfister's, 2 in which the belief in 
the Devil is traced back to 'infantile experiences of fear' 
in the life of the individual. Since the origin of infantile 
terror is now known, 3 it naturally suggests itself to one 
to investigate the descriptions of the belief in the Devil 
in the light of this new knowledge. This procedure has 
led me to formulate the following conclusions, the evi- 
dence for which will presently be brought forward: The 
belief in the Devil represents in the main an exteriorization 
of two sets of repressed wishes , both of which are ultimately 
derived from the infantile Oedipiis situation: (a) The wish 
to imitate certain attributes of the father, and (b) the wish 
to defy the father; in other words, an alternating emulation 
of and hostility against the father. Both sources contain 
repressed material: the latter obviously does, and even 
the former differs from the early piety which later ex- 
presses itself in the belief in God through being more 

1 Graf, op. cit. S. 67-68. 

2 O. Pfister, Die Frommigkeit des Grafen Ludwig von Zinzendorf, 1910, S. 94. 
8 See Sigm. Freud, 'Analyse der Phobie eines funfjahrigen Knaben', Psycho- 

analytisches Jahrbuch, 1909, Bd. i. S. i. [Gesammelte Schriflen, Bd. viii. S. 127. 
Collected Papers, vol. iii. p. 147.] 


directly concerned with admiration for the darker, 'evil 1 
side of the father's nature and activities. In this respect 
the Devil personifies the Father, while in the other he 
personifies the Son; he thus represents unconscious 
aspects of the Son-Father complex, sometimes the one 
side being the more prominent, sometimes the other. 
The corresponding female Oedipus situation also contri- 
butes material of no less importance. For the reasons that 
this forms the subject of the next chapter and that it is 
largely the obverse of the male contribution, it will be 
simpler to confine ourselves for the present to the latter. 

Before developing this theme further I shall pass next 
to consideration of the second problem mentioned above. 
We shall have at once to renounce a presentation of the 
purely historical aspects of the subject; for these the 
reader is referred to such books as those by Conway, 
Grimm, Roskoff and Gener, particularly to the last- 
named, which is perhaps the fullest and most objectively 
philosophical work on the subject. A brief abstract of the 
more important historical data, however, is essential for 
our general orientation. The first point to be insisted on 
here is that the Devil, in the strict sense of the word, is 
a purely Christian conception, the earlier data being 
merely material out of which the conception proper was 
formed. To attack our problem, therefore, we shall have 
briefly to consider the nature of this earlier material. 

The idea of evil supernatural powers, although per- 
haps not absolutely universal, is exceedingly widely 
spread among ruder peoples, 1 and was so with the civil- 
ized peoples of antiquity. On investigating specific in- 
stances more closely, however, it is striking to note how 
very rarely these powers were purely evil in nature. 
With almost the sole exception of the Persian Ahriman, 
described in the Vedida section of the Zend-Avesta, one 
may say that before the advent of Christianity there 
was no definite conception of a supernatural being pro- 

1 See a review of this in G. Roskoff, Geschichte des Teufels, 1869, Bd. i. S. 



fessionally devoted to evil. The Brahmanic Vritra, the 
Hindoo Siva, the Egyptian Set (or Typhon), the Greek 
Pan, the Teutonic Loki, were all decidedly Gods, to be 
not merely propitiated but worshipped, and they funda- 
mentally differed from the mediaeval Devil. Greece, as 
might have been expected from her other illustrious 
attributes, was distinguished for the subordinate part 
played in her theology by anxiety feelings. At first sight 
Judaism appears to resemble Hellenism in the slight de- 
velopment of evil beings in its theology, but the reasons 
were quite different in the two systems and the com- 
parison redounds to the credit of Hellenism. There 
is this significant fact to be noted: that, coincidently 
with the growth of the Satan idea in the later history of 
the Jews an idea that followed the Babylonian exile 
and which was derived from either the Persian Ahriman 
or, as Robertson 1 thinks more probable, from the Baby- 
lonian Goat-God the character of the Yahweh belief 
changed and approximated much more nearly to the 
modern one in a benevolent God. In the earlier history 
of the Jews Yahweh combined the attributes of both 
God and Devil; evil as well as good proceeded directly 
from him, so that, as Graf 2 truly says, 'man braucht nur 
einigermassen auf das Wesen Jehovas zu achten, um 
sogleich gewahr zu werden, dass neben einem solchen 
Gotte fiir einen Teufel wenig Platz iibrig ist' ('It needs 
little reflection on the nature of Jehovah to realize that 
by the side of such a God there was not much room left 
over for a Devil'). As Conway 3 remarks in the same sense: 
The Jews originally had no Devil, as indeed had no 
races at first; and this for the obvious reason that their 
so-called gods were quite equal to any moral evils that 
were to be accounted for, 1 and Gener 4 says of the Jewish 
God: 'II est dieu et diable a la fois; mais plus frequem- 
ment il est diable/ 

The Jewish example is especially interesting as con- 

1 J. M. Robertson, Pagan Ckrists, 1903, p. 84. a Graf, op. cit. S. 18. 

8 M. D. Conway, Demonology and Devil-Lore, 1879, vol. ii. p. 56. 
4 P. Gener, La Mori et le Diable, 1880, p. 372. 


tributing to the solution of the problem whether the 
Devil conception is of independent origin, as maintained 
by the theologians, or the result of that mythological 
process known as 'decomposition' in which different 
attributes of an originally unitary personality become 
invested with independent existence so that several 
different personalities come into being. Tlje fact that 
the distinction between the ideas of God and Devil 
represents a late stage in cultural development, succeed- 
ing to the primitive idea of supernatural beings that are 
at the same time good and evil, speaks strongly in 
favour of the view taken here, namely that God and 
Devil were originally one, 1 and this is definitely con- 
firmed by the Jewish example. After giving a detailed 
study of the matter, Gener 2 discusses whether Satan 
represents (i) one of the degraded gods of neighbouring 
tribes conquered by Yahweh, or (2) the Hazazel of 
Leviticus, or (3) simply a differentiated emanation of 
Yahweh himself, a 'dedoublement' to use Gener's own 
term. He definitely decides in favour of the last view, 
which evidently is the true one, not only from the whole 
history of the evolution of Yahweh, but also from Satan's 
own behaviour; in the book of Job, for instance, he ap- 
pears as a loyal servant of Yahweh, as a sort of intelli- 
gent detective who tests people and finds out their weak- 
nesses. Conway 3 is also of the same opinion, even in 
respect of the very differently constituted Devil of the 
New Testament: 'The descriptions of the Devil in the 
Bible are mainly borrowed from the early descriptions 
of the Elohim, and of Jehovah in his Elohistic character/ 
This conclusion of the original identity of God and 
Devil receives an interesting confirmation through 
etymological study of the word 'Devil'. Like the cognate 
French diable, German Teufel, Old High German Tuivel, 
as well as the Greek diabolos, it is ultimately derived 

1 [This conclusion was accepted by Reik, Der eigene und der fremde Gott, 
1923, S. 139, and Freud, 'Erne Teufelsneurose im siebzehnten Jahrhundert', 
Imago, Bd. ix. S. 14 (Gesammelte Schnften, Bd. x. S. 409, and Collected Papers, 
vol. iv. p. 450).] 

2 Gener, op. cit. S. 389-391. 3 Conway, loc. cit. 


from a primeval root DV, which in Sanscrit is found in 
two forms, div and dyu, the original meaning of which 
was 'to kindle'. From the former come, in addition to 
our Devil, the Teutonic Tins (the god of Tuesday), 
Tiwas or Zio, the Greek theos, Latin deus ordivus, French 
dieu, Welsh diw, Lithuanian diewas, Gipsy dew el, all of 
which signify 'God'; further, the word deva or daeva, 
which to the Brahmin means God, but to the Persian 
and Parsee means Devil. From the second form come 
the Indian Djaus (the Brahman sky-god), the Greek 
Zeus (Z=Dj), and the Latin Jupiter (old Latin Diovis). 
The same remarkable polarity is shown by the non- 
personal words derived from the same root. On the one 
hand there is the Latin dies = day, the Keltic dis= day- 
star or day-god, Sanscrit dyaus = day, and on the other 
hand the Aryan dhvan (whence the Greek thanatos) = 
death, Teutonic devan=to die, Aryan dvi=to fear, and 
the Greek deos = dread. Still more remarkable is the fact 
that the polarity words par excellence are of similar 
origin. The Sanscrit dva, Latin duo, English two, Welsh 
deu, all mean 'two' (compare the English 'double' with 
the Old High German for devil, Deudel), while the Greek 
dys signifies both 'to separate into two' and 'evil'. 1 The 
primary identity of the ideas of God and Devil can thus 
be demonstrated quite independently of psychological 
considerations, though these would in themselves be 

The growth of Christianity brought an increasing 
definition of the Devil conception as the only possible 
explanation of the evil raging in the world. This was 
indeed inevitable from its extreme renunciation of the 

1 Of especial psychological interest is the following fact. The common English 
euphemism for devil is 'deuce' (Old English dewes), which one might at first 
sight expect to find derived from the sources just mentioned (cp. Zeus and St. 
Augustin's Dusius-Incubus). According to Skeat, however, it originated as 
follows: Its first meaning, still commonly used, was to denote the two in dice 
and card games, having been introduced for this purpose in Plantagenet times 
from the French deux. The 'losing two' in these games naturally signified ill- 
luck and hence got associated with the devil, first through the explanation 
'Oh, the deuce 1 . As a result of this circuitous connection the word has now two 
meanings that are almost identical with those of the Greek dys, which it 
resembles in sound and with which it is etymologically cognate. 


world as something essentially sinful. Such renunciation 
was carried by certain sects to even greater lengths than 
by the mother church. Many of the early Gnostics had 
believed in a Being with mixed good and evil attributes, 
Demiurgos, the creator of the world and foe of Christ, 
and when influenced by the degenerate form of Zoroas- 
trianism taught by the Persian Mani in the third century 
this idea was developed by the Manichseans into a formal 
system. In it all nature, all animals, and all worldly 
desires were the Devil's domain. About the eleventn 
century this sect and others merged into the conglomer- 
ate body known as the Cathari from the tom-cat in whose 
shape Lucifer was represented. The Albigenses and other 
heretics also laid great stress on the sinfulness of nature. 
The influence exerted on the Catholic Church by these 
happenings was a two-fold one. In the first place, these 
teachings penetrated into her very bosom and enor- 
mously strengthened the early beliefs in the essential 
wickedness of worldly desires, with the result that the 
conception of sin was developed to an extent never heard 
of before or since. In the second place, she deliberately 
exploited the Devil idea as a powerful weapon to fight 
all heresies, declaring that heresy came only from the 
Devil and, later on, that it was synonymous with Witch- 
craft. It took some time before the value of the Devil for 
this purpose was perceived. In earlier times he had been 
to a great extent neglected. The Council of Braza, for 
instance, in 563, had proclaimed: 'If anyone alleges, with 
Priscillian, that the Devil makes certain creations, and 
that by his own virtue he creates thunder and lightning, 
tempests and drought, let him be anathema/ Later, 
however, the heretics, by their insistence on the powers 
of evil, had unwittingly put into the hands of the Church 
a weapon that proved their undoing. 

The use of tnis weapon was already to some extent 
familiar to the Church in her fight against non-Christian 
religions. St. Paul himself (i Corinthians, x. 20) had ex- 
pressly declared heathen gods to be merely demons/and 
the Church applied this doctrine in conscientious detail 

CH. vi THE DEVIL l6l 

to one god after another of the classical and other 
heathen theologies. It was soon found, however, im- 
possible to carry the matter through in this simple way, 
and it was decided for the first time officially by Pope 
Gregory I. in 601 to institute, on the basis of the 
famous Accommodation Theory, a thorough-going amal- 
gamation and absorption of other religions into Chris- 
tianity. The festivals, cults, and personal attributes of 
the foreign deities were pooled and redistributed among 
Christian ones, some falling to the lot of Christ, God the 
Father, Mary and the numerous saints, and others to the 
Devil and his subordinates. 1 

As a result of this syncretizing procedure we find that 
a great number of the physical and mental character- 
istics of the mediaeval Devil are individually derived 
from a great variety of extra-Christian sources. Thus, 
to mention only a few examples 2 : Like Pan, the personi- 
fication of nature, the Devil combined human and animal 
attributes, particularly in his physical appearance, lived 
in caverns and lonely places, and suddenly startled 
people (Panic); his goat-like body, cloven hoofs and tail, 
he inherited from Pan and the other satyrs, from the 
German forest-sprites and from the he-goat that was 
sacred to Thor. From Thor also came his red beard, his 
habit of building bridges, and his evil odour; the last- 
named attribute is connected both with the goat and 
with the sulphurous odour left after a thunderstorm, 
and in fact one of his by-names was Hammer, 3 taken from 
Thor's thunder-hammer. Like Zeus and Odin he had 
special power over the weather, and to the latter he 
owed his horse's foot and the raven as his sacred animal. 
Like Odin he travelled by night and bore away people 

1 It is, of course, impossible to describe here any of this interesting process. 
In relation to the Teutonic religions it has been most fully investigated by 
J. Grimm in his Deutsche Mythologie, 1876. 

8 See Grimm, op. cit. 46 Ausgabe, 1876, Kap. xxxiii.; Roskoff, op. cit. 
Zweiter Abschnitt, Kap. i and 2, etc.; A. Wuttke, Der deutsche Aberglaube der 
Gegenwart, 1900, S. 35-37. 

8 The phallic significance of this has been pointed out by G. W. Cox, Mytho- 
logy of the Aryan Nations, 1870, vol. ii. p. 115, and E. H. Meyer, Germanische 
Mythologie, 1891, S. 212. 



as the Wild Hunter; on such occasions he wore Odin's 
dress of either a grey mantle with a broad hat pressed 
down on the head or a green coat with a feather in his 
hat. Both the Devil and Odin discovered the game of 
dice, which was later replaced by cards, and to this day 
cards are known in puritanical circles in England as 
'the devil's game'. Like Odin, too, he was a master-smith 
and builder, and his old German name was that of Smith 
Wieland or Voland (English Weyland, our modern St. 
Valentine), who was a descendant of Odin's, The Devil 
is often portrayed as limping, a characteristic curiously 
related to the one just mentioned. Not only did the 
German smith Wieland (Wotan) limp, but also the Greek 
one, Hephaestos (Vulcan) who was cast from Heaven 
by Zeus, just like the Persian devil Aeshma (the Biblical 
Asmodeus); one of the two he-goats that bore Thor's 
waggon also limped, as did the horse that carried Bal- 
dur. 1 Like Loki, the fire-god, the Devil was bound by 
the gods and had to await his day of deliverance when 
all hell would be let loose. His black colour was borrowed 
from Saturn, who, according to Simrock, 2 was identified 
with Loki, and from the Indian Vritra, the god of dark- 
ness. The torch under his tail came from the Roman 
Bacchanalia. 3 In early times the Devil used actually to 
appear to Christians in the guise of the classical gods; 
thus, in the fourth century he appeared to St. Martin 
sometimes in the form of Jupiter, sometimes in that of 
Venus or Minerva; he took such shapes even as late as 
the twelfth century. 

If we now inquire why the belief in the Devil assumed 
the proportions it did in the Middle Ages, although it is 
obvious that the answer must be found in the peculiar 
social and moral conditions of that period, yet the factors 
leading up to these were so complex and involved that 
only the most generally acting ones can be mentioned 
here. As an example of this complexity we may cite the 

1 Limping is a familiar unconscious symbol of castration. 

8 K. Simrock, Handbuch der deutschen Mythologie, 1878, S. 346. 

8 F. Hedelin, Des satyres, brutes, monstres et demons, 1627 (1888 ed.), p. 129. 



modern demonstration that matters so apparently remote 
as the recent introduction of the banking system 1 and 
the improvement of town architecture 2 were indirectly 
factors of considerable importance. Still there can be no 
doubt that the main driving force came from the Church 
itself. The Church has always had three sets of dangers 
to cope with: unbelievers or pagans without; dissensions 
and scandals within; and, part within and part without, 
heresy. At the beginning of the Middle Ages the Church 
had in all of these three connections strong reasons for 
fortifying the belief in the Devil. The first of the three 
might be called a positive reason, the other two nega- 
tive. The conquering of paganism in Europe took much 
longer than is commonly supposed, but nevertheless by 
the twelfth century the main battles had been won, and 
there remained only detailed guerilla fighting. The 
Church could therefore afford to discard the more positive 
aspects of syncretism and to revert to the uncompromising 
attitude of the early Church, where there was no question 
of enriching Christian worship with Pagan borrowings 
and all non-Christian beliefs and rituals were appropria- 
ted only as fodder for the underworld. The military and 
political successes of the Church over Paganism ended 
in the growth and elaboration of the Devil idea because 
there was no longer the need to find any use for the 
remains of Paganism except to feed this idea with it in 
the ways we illustrated above. The other two reasons 
were of quite another kind, signs not of strength but 
of weakness. Discredited by the failure of its prophecies 
(the end of the world at 1000 A.D. and numerous other 
dates) and by moral and ecclesiastical scandals, 3 torn 
by internal political and religious dissensions, its very 
existence threatened by powerful heretical sects, 4 the 
condition of the Church in the twelfth century was such 
as called for the most desperate measures. To attribute 

1 Gener, op. cit. p. 582. 

8 J. Hansen, Zauberwahn, Inquisition und Hexenprozess im Mittelalter, 1900, 
S. 329. 

8 See Roskoff, op. cit. Zweiter Abschnitt, Kap. vi. 
4 Gener, op. cit. p. 566. Hansen, op. cit. p. 214. 


all its difficulties to the activity of the Devil, and in this 
way to distract the people from contemplating its weak- 
nesses by terrifying them with an external danger, one 
moreover with which the Church knew itself competent 
to deal, was a device at which it eagerly clutched; it 
is one to which Governments in embarrassment have 
seldom failed to have recourse. The people, in abject 
misery at their social condition, devastated with pesti- 
lence 1 and war, 2 and in consequence of their misfortunes 
saturated with the sense of sinfulness, fell an easy prey 
to the Church's teachings. Indeed, these teachings at 
moments overreached themselves, for the people, in 
despair at the obvious failure of God and the Church to 
relieve their misery, greedily absorbed the doctrine of 
the wonderful powers of the Devil, so that not a few 
took refuge with him; probably the definite nature of 
the bargain driven in the well-known pacts appealed to 
them more than the unending and often inefficacious 
prayers to the saints. The extent of the belief in the 
Devil's influence on even the most trivial everyday 
happenings was so colossal that one cannot read the 
records of the time without thinking that Europe was 
being visited by a mass psychoneurosis of an unusually 
malign type. His activities were so manifold that, accord- 
ing to Wier, they had to be divided among 44,435,556 
subordinates, 3 while a single woman, Joanna Seiler, was 
said to have been exorcised of no fewer than a hundred 
million. 4 

Most important of all, however, was the powerful sup- 
pressing influence exerted by the Church on all worldly 
desires, with the consequent outbreak of these in other 
directions. A good example of this is furnished by its 
attitude towards the desire for knowledge, which, as is 
well known, it condemned root and branch almost as 

1 Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 113-117, makes an appalling list of these. 

* Of these the Mongolian irruption, the Crusades, and, later on, the Hundred 
Years' War between England and France seem to have exerted the greatest 

8 C. L. Louandre, Sorcellerie, p. 37. J. A, S. Collin de Plancy, Dictionnaire 
infernal, 1818, t. i. p. 166. 

4 J. Juhling, Die Inquisition, 1903, S. n. 

CH. vi THE DEVIL 165 

being the source of all evil a reversion to the first 
chapters of Genesis. The suppressed instinct for know- 
ledge, however, never took such bizarre forms as during 
the Middle Ages, with its passionate search for the philo- 
sopher's stone, the elixir of life, and the universal solvent, 
with its devotion to astrology and alchemy, and with 
its interest in all manner of magical procedures. This 
craving for knowledge became closely associated with the 
idea of the Devil, as indeed was formally taught by the 
Church, and the beginning of the witchcraft epidemic 
was the persecution of magicians. Unusual knowledge 
was at once ascribed to a pact with the Devil; it was, for 
instance, the reason why Pope Sylvester II, in the tenth 
century, was suspected of having concluded such a pact. 
This suppressing influence of the Church naturally 
bore above all on sexual impulses, the source of all sin. 
Sexual repression has assumed different forms in dif- 
ferent ages, a matter of considerable importance in the 
history of culture. In the nineteenth century, for in- 
stance, it seems to have been predominantly directed 
against exhibitionism, with a marked extension to ex- 
cremental functions; so that sexuality in the Victorian 
era tended to be called 'shameful 1 or 'disgusting' rather 
than 'sinful'. In the early Middle Ages repression was 
directed against sexual activities in general as being in- 
herently sinful, and particularly with all its force against 
incest; 1 this is very comprehensible, inasmuch as Christian 
theology is principally concerned with the sublimation 
and glorification of an incest myth. 2 At the same time, 
owing perhaps to the difficulty of marriage engendered 
by the peculiar social and economic conditions, 3 and the 
extent to which religious celibacy was practised, incest 
seems to have been unusually common during this 
period. 4 If, therefore, as is here maintained, the Devil 

1 E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, 1891, p. 155, expresses 
the interesting view that all sexual repression originated in the reaction against 
incest, one which psycho-analytic investigation fully confirms. 

* See, in this connection, Otto Rank, Der Mythus von der Geburt des Helden , 
1909, S. 46-51. 8 Gener, op. cit. p. 617. 

4 J. Michelet, La Sorciere, 36 ed., 1863, pp. 156-159. 


idea essentially represented the guilty aspects of an in- 
cest symbolism, it must have been singularly well 
adapted to the needs of the time, and the fact that Devil 
worship constituted a detailed caricature of Christian 
worship receives a deeper significance. It is especially 
worthy of note that the principal crime committed at 
the Witches' Sabbath was incest: Michelet, 1 for instance, 
writes: 'Selon ces auteurs (De Lancre, etc.) . . . le but 
principal du sabbat, la legon, la doctrine expresse de 

Satan, c'est 1'inceste/ 

* * * * * 

After this very condensed discussion of the second of 
our initial problems we may now return to the first. The 
evidence in favour of the solution of it offered above may 
most conveniently be presented under four headings. 
Since the Devil may personify the 'evil' aspects of either 
son or father, and as the son's attitude towards the 
father may be either imitation or hostility, we find that 
he is portrayed in four different aspects, though these 
are never sharply separated from one another. He may 
thus personify: 

(1) The Father towards whom is felt admiration. 

(2) The Father against whom is felt hostility. 

(3) The Son who imitates the father. 

(4) The Son who defies the father. 

These aspects will now be illustrated in this order; as will 
be seen, a given attribute may represent more than one 
of the primary tendencies. 

(i) The Father towards whom is felt admiration 

This aspect provides the largest component in the 
conception of the Devil. The reason for this is probably 
its double source, on the one hand in the son's admira- 
tion, and on the other in the daughter's repressed (libi- 
dinal) love. We see here the Devil as a rival to God, the 
love for whom is drawn from the same two sources. 

1 Michelet, op. cit. p. 155. 

CH. vi THE DEVIL 167 

In the first place may be noted the Devil's wonderful 
powers, which far exceeded those of ordinary beings. Ac- 
cording to the Manichaean belief, which strongly influ- 
enced Christianity, he was actually the Creator of the 
mundane world and united in himself the most extra- 
ordinary capacities. He controlled the thunder and 
lightning, the wind and rain, powers previously ascribed 
to various gods. The infantile sexual symbolism of these 
beliefs need only be mentioned here. Abraham 1 has 
dealt fully with a part of it (lightning) , and the mytho- 
logical significance of rain (urine and semen) is well 
known, as is the flatus symbolism of thunder; 2 we have 
seen above that the Devil's evil odour was largely associ- 
ated with his capacity of making thunder. It is important 
to note that the Devil's power especially related to 
secret and magical affairs. He was the master of all for- 
bidden arts, the so-called 'black arts'. This was why he 
was the chief resort of magicians and other people who 
wanted either knowledge they were forbidden to have, 
or power to perform deeds beyond ordinary human 

These powers would be put at the service of human 
beings in despair, usually on certain conditions, such as 
that they would henceforth belong to the Devil and do 
his bidding: just like the parents who do something for 
a child on condition that he is 'good', i.e. do what they 
want. In many legends he appears as a friendly helper 
of mankind who protects those in distress particularly 
widows and orphans! and aids them over their diffi- 
culties; Conway 3 and Wunsche 4 narrate a large number 

1 K. Abraham, Traum und My thus, 1909, S. 29, 30 u.s.w. 

8 'Le Tonnerre ce n'est qu'un pet; c'est Aristophane qui le dit' (Bibliotheca 
Scatologica, Art. 'Oratio pro Guano Humano'). J. Harington (The Metamorphosis 
of Ajax, 1596, p. 94) recalls the adventure of Socrates who, when Xantippe 
crowned him with a chamber-pot, carried it on his head and shoulders, saying 
to the laughing bystanders: 

'It never yet was deem'd a wonder, 
To see that rain should follow thunder/ 

3 Conway, op. cit. ch. xxvii. 'Le bon diable'. 

4 A. Wunsche, Der Sagenkreis vom geprellten Teufel, 1905, Cap. vii. 'Der 
geprellte Teufel als Heifer der Menschen in allerlei Notlagen und Anliegen.' 


of such stories. We here see the Devil playing the part 
of the friendly father, and the correspondence between 
the two conceptions is at times extraordinarily close in 
detail. 1 

Very striking is the circumstance that the mediaeval 
Devil absorbed all the legends previously told of giants, 
that mythological transformation of the child's concep- 
tion of its parents. 2 The three main ideas combined here 
are those of age, strength and size. One of the Devil's 
attributes was his extreme age; 3 and many of his by- 
names, e.g., Old Nick (Hnikar), Old Davy, etc., seem to 
hint at this. All the special interests and characteristics 
of the giants of old were transferred en bloc to the Devil; 
a number of them are fully related by Grimm, 4 so that 
the details need not be given here. Chief among them was 
his interest in building, 5 one that we would trace onto- 
genetically to one of the infantile conceptions of parental 
child-making; according to this babies and therefore 
other interesting objects are constructed out of in- 
testinal contents, an interest which later becomes trans- 
ferred to the idea of formations out of sand, mortar, etc. 6 
Wunsche 7 writes: 'Bei naherer Betrachtung erweisen 
sich ferner alle die Sagen, nach denen der Teufel mach- 
tige Damme, die quer durch den See gehen, Mauern nach 
Art der Zyklopen und Briicken, die hoch in den Himmel 
hineinragen und iiber Abgriinde, Schluchten und Taler 
fiihren, errichtet, als christianisierte ortliche Riesen- 
sagen. Auch Hiinen- und Brunhildebetten beriihren sich 
mit Teufelsbetten/ ('On closer examination all the sagas 
in which the Devil erects mighty dams that run straight 
across lakes, cyclopean walls, and bridges that range 
high into the sky and lead over abysses, ravines and 

1 [Compare in this connection Freud, 'Eine Teufelsneurose im siebzehnten 
Jahrhundert', op. cit."] 

2 See Meyer, op. cit. S. 143, for a detailed account of the attributes of 
mythological giants. 

8 Grimm, op. cit. S. 826. 

4 Grimm, op. cit. S. 852-856, and Nachtrag, S. 301. 

5 See Wunsche, op. cit. Cap. ii., 'Der geprellte Teufel als Baumeister'. 

6 The primitive passion of children for building has been extensively studied 
by R. A. Acher, American Journal of Psychology, Jan. 1910, p. 116 et seq. 

7 Wunsche, op. cit. S. 14. 



valleys prove to be Christianized giant sagas of various 
localities. Cairns, barrows and "Brunhilda beds" also get 
connected with "Devil beds" '.) Nor did the Devil con- 
tent himself with copying the deeds of the giants, for on 
various occasions he used to appear in their actual shape; 
thus St. Anthony saw him as 'a monstrous giant whose 
head reached to the clouds', as did also St. Brigitta, and 
Dante depicted Lucifer as of giant size. 

The theme of the 'returning dead' has been discussed 
above in the chapters on the Incubus and Vampire, and 
its connection with ancestor worship and incest pointed 
out. It is therefore of interest to note that it was a 
favourite practice on the part of the Devil to appear at 
night in the guise of some person who had died, 1 par- 
ticularly to appear to a woman in the form of her father. 
The explanation of this was hinted at more than three 
hundred years ago by Thomas Nashe, 2 who writes: 'It 
will bee demaunded why in the likenes of ones father or 
mother, or kinsfolks, he (the devil) oftentimes presents 
himselfe unto us? No other reason can bee guiven of it 
but this, that in those shapes which hee supposeth most 
familliar unto us, and that wee are inclined to with a 
naturall kind of love, we will sooner hearken to him than 

Psycho-analysis has shown that the primary source of 
the boy's envy of the father relates to his sexual potency. 
As will presently be illustrated, the visits and tempta- 
tions of the Devil were predominantly of a libidinous 
nature. In further accord with this link with the father 
idea is the close relation between the Devil and the 
Snake, for as was pointed out in a previous chapter 
the phallic significance of the snake is specifically con- 
nected with the father's member; this creature, with its 
mysterious and insinuating behaviour is admirably 
adapted to symbolize the secret activity of the father so 
envied by the boy. The tempter of the Old Testament 

1 Graf, op. cit. S. 57, 58, 65-67. P. L. Jacob, CuriositSs infernales, pp. 35-37. 

2 The Works of Thomas Nashe, 1904 edition, vol. i., 'The Terrors of the Night' 
(I594) P- 348. 


was styled Leviathan (= insinuating serpent) in the 
Kabbalah, and his equivalent in other countries, such as 
Ahriman in Persia, Apep in Egypt, Midgard in Norway, 
Set in Egypt and Vritra in India, were also commonly 
portrayed in the form of a snake; we might also mention 
the evil snake or dragon crushed by Apollo, Bellerophon, 
Heracles, Krishna, Odin, St. George and other heroes. 
Indeed, in this respect the Devil was in excellent com- 
pany, for as was expounded earlier in connection with 
the practice of Incubation not only has the Snake-God 
been one of the most general objects of worship all over 
the world, but the gods of more civilized communities 
often assumed this guise, usually when engaged on love 
adventures. The circumstances of these disguises pro- 
vide in themselves a clue to the meaning of the snake 
beliefs, and the early fathers of the Jewish and Christian 
Churches held that the serpent of the Garden of Eden 
symbolized evil lust. 1 The Christian Devil frequently ap- 
peared in the form of a snake or fiery dragon; 2 St. 
Anthony testified to the former from his own experience, 
as did St. Coleta. 3 With the Devil the sexual nature of 
the symbolism is shown in a much grosser manner than 
with the classical gods, for not only was his tail com- 
posed of a snake, or else carried a snake's head at its tip, 
but his very arms were similarly constituted. As for his 
penis, this also was built to imitate the shape and move- 
ments of a snake; 4 probably that is why we read of such 
descriptions as the following: 5 'il a une virilite gigan- 
tesque, couverte d'ecailles, herissee de piquants.' 

The directly libidinous character of the Devil and his 
temptations is emphasized by every writer on the sub- 
ject and is incorporated in innumerable stories. 6 It will 
suffice to select a single passage from Freimark, 7 of a 
kind that could be indefinitely multiplied: 'Den erst en 

Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 195. a Grimm, op. cit. S. 833, 851. 

Le Loyer, Discours et histoires des spectres, visions et apparitions, 1605, 

P. 353- 

Graf, op. cit. S. 50, 51. 

R. Br^vannes, L'Orgie satanique a tr avers les sitcles, 1904, p, 115. 

See/ for instance, Jacob, op. cit. pp. 85-96. 

H. Freimark, Ohkultismus und Sexualitdt, S. 297. 



Anstoss zum Teufelsbund geben fast ausschliesslich 
sexuelle Motive. ... In alien Berichten liber die Ver- 
fiihrung zur Hexerei und zum Teufelsbund nimmt un- 
verhiillt die sexuelle Verfiihrung die erste Stelle ein/ 
(The first impulse to the Devil's pact proceeded from 
almost exclusively sexual motives. ... In all reports on 
the seduction to witchcraft and the pact sexual seduc- 
tion openly takes the first place.') This was the sin above 
all else that the Church most warned against. Sinistrari, 1 
for instance, says: 'ratione tantae enormitatis contra 
Religionem, quae praesuppositur coitu cum Diabolo, 
profecto Daemonialitas maximum est criminum car- 
nalium/ A favourite device for accomplishing his design 
was for the Devil to deceive a woman by impersonating 
her lover or husband, 2 just as the Incubus did. Bodin 3 
relates cases where the Devil even solicited and seduced 
girls of six, 'qui est 1'aage de cognoissance aux filles'! 
The sexual temptations to which Buddha, Zoroaster and 
other divine Beings had been subjected were in Christian 
times transferred to various saints, most of whom, such 
as St. Anthony, St. Benedict, St. Elizabeth and St. 
Martin withstood them, whilst others, such as St. Vic- 
torinus, succumbed. 

As is well known, the Devil's favourite metamorphosis 
was into a he-goat, the classical symbol of lasciviousness; 
it was its almost invariable guise at the Witches' Sabbath. 
Being ignorant of mythology, many Christian writers 
were much puzzled at this; Scaliger, 4 for instance, con- 
siders it simply a marvel. Bodin, 5 on the other hand, 
suspected the meaning of it, and writes: 'Mais c'est bien 
chose estrange, que Satan . . . prend la figure d'un Bouc, 
si ce n'est pour estre une beste puante et salace. ... Or la 
propriety des Daemons est d' avoir puissance sur la 
cupidite lascive et brutale.' Incidentally, one more proof 

1 P. Sinistrari, Demoniality (seventeenth century), 1879 edition, p. 218. 

2 J. G. Dalyell, The Darker Superstitions of Scotland, 1835, p. 554. Hinkmar, 
quoted by J. Hansen, op. cit. S. 73. 

8 J. Bodin, De la demonomanie des sorciers, 1593, p. 212. 
4 Smith, Scaliger ana, 1669, Part ii. Article 'Azazael'. 
* Bodin, op. cit. p. 190. 


of the original identity of the Devil and God conceptions 
is the fact that not merely was the goat the symbol of 
numerous deities of antiquity, but also that Pan, the 
goat-god par excellence from whom the Devil derived 
so many of his attributes has been identified with the 
highest God of the Babylonians, Mithra/ with the 
Egyptian God Min 2 (the representative of the male 
principle) and even with Zeus himself. 3 

The minutest attention was devoted in the Middle 
Ages to the sexual attributes of the Devil, and particu- 
larly to the organ concerned. 4 This was generally sinuous, 
pointed and snake-like, made sometimes of half-iron and 
half-flesh, at other times wholly of horn, and was com- 
monly forked like a serpent's tongue; he customarily 
performed both coitus and pederastia at once, while 
sometimes a third prong reached to his leman's mouth. 5 

The mediaeval Devil was far from being the first one 
to be renowned for his lasciviousness. Not to speak of 
the deities of classical antiquity, we find the same trait 
recorded of most evil precursors of the Christian Devil. 
The reputation of Pan himself was such that he was 
known to the theologians of the Middle Ages as the 
Prince of Incubi. 6 In the Koran the Devil is known only 
as a seducer. 7 The worship of the Brahman Shiva, the 
evil creator and destroyer of the world, is a purely 
phallic one. 8 The Bedouin ghoul, the Buddhist Mara, 
the Persian Aeshma-Daeva (the ancestor of the Jewish 
Asmodai), the Syrian djinn all have the same lasci- 
vious reputation; even in far-off Australia the Iruntari- 

1 J. M. Robertson, Pagan Christs, 1903, p. 315. 

2 W. M. Flinders Petrie, The Religion of Ancient Egypt, 1908, p. 59. 

8 R. P. Knight, The Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology , 1876 
edition, p. 137. 

4 See, for instance, Pierre de Lancre, Tableau de I'inconstance des mauvais 
anges et demons, 1612, pp. 224, 225. 

6 [Miss M. A. Murray, in her book The Witch Cult in Western Europe, 1921, 
p. 178, makes the interesting suggestion that these descriptions are to be 
explained by the custom of the leader of the witch covens, the representative 
of the Devil, being compelled by the exigencies of his devotees to have recourse 
to the aid of artificial phalli, probably of leather.] 

6 Collin de Plancy, op, cit. t. ii. p. 135. 

7 Eickmann, Die Angelologie und Ddmonologie des Korans, 1908, S. 44. 

8 E. Sellon, Annotations on the Sacred Writings of the Hindus, 1902, p. 9. 

CH. vi THE DEVIL 173 

via, or evil spirits, are addicted to the practice of carry- 
ing off women in the dark. 1 But the Devil's reputation 
surpassed all these to such an extent that Milton 2 could 
call one of his shapes: 

Belial, the dissolutest spirit that fell, 
The sensualest, and, after Asmodai, 
The fleshliest Incubus. 

In connection with the same Father aspect of the Devil 
is to be mentioned his close association with Nature, 
the personification of the Mother, and particularly with 
the hidden parts of Nature; it is characteristic of the 
incestuous significance of the Devil idea that, through 
this association, Nature herself just as women did in 
the early days of Christianity becomes conceived of as 
the evil side of the universe. The Devil dwells in remote 
places, being especially fond of dark forests and of 
treasure spots, such as gold mines. 3 He penetrates into 
caverns and into the very interior of Mother Earth, i.e. 
into places quite inaccessible to ordinary beings ( - 
children). Other association between the ideas of Devil 
and Mother will be mentioned in due course. 

2. The Father against whom is felt hostility 

Here the Devil presents himself not as a tempter and 
seducer, but as a pursuer, as the enemy of mankind. All 
the paternal arbitrariness, savage cruelty, unjustness, 
petty tyranny and general unreasonableness that dis- 
figures the Yahweh of the Old Testament 4 were inherited 
to the full by the Christian Devil. The resemblance of 
this picture to the one that many a child conceives of as 
accurately describing his father is only too striking. The 
Devil mocks at the endeavours and strivings of men, 
derides their ambitions and makes sport of their failures. 
He teases, annoys and harms them out of pure enjoy- 

1 B. Spencer and F. J. Gillen, The Native Tribes of Central Australia, 1899, 

P- 5*7- 

1 Milton, Paradise Regained, Book ii. line 150. 

8 Le Loyer, op. cit. p. 340. 

4 See Gener, op. cit. pp. 368-377, for an exposition of this. 


ment at doing so, undoes their labour and baffles all 
their efforts. Mankind lives in one constant fight with 
him, in either the resisting of attractive temptations or 
the thwarting of his mischievous assaults. The Oedipus 
situation, both male and female, is thus reconstructed 
in its entirety. 

The Devil's hostility to man is, characteristically 
enough, especially prominent in the legends he inherited 
from the giants ( = grown-ups). In these he performs all 
manner of deeds to hinder and injure; 1 he heaves huge 
blocks of stone at churches and nunneries, dams rivers 
so as to cause floodings, builds walls to keep out human 
beings from his domains, and so on. Men have to fight 
against him in his giant form, just as the young gods 
fought against the Titans of old. 

In this fight human beings were by no means always 
defeated. Many are the tales in which the Devil is cir- 
cumvented and cheated, and it is noteworthy that these 
tales also are mostly taken from heathen ones in 
which the giants were the antagonists. 2 For instance, 
according to Wiinsche, 3 'Hinter dem Schmiede von 
Bielefeld, Apolda u.s.w. in den bekannten Marchen, der 
den Teufel im Sacke auf dem Amboss ganz windelweich 
hammert, so dass er ein Zetergeschrei erhebt und um 
seine Freilassung bittet, verbirgt sich, wie wir unten 
zeigen werden, sicherlich der seinen Hammer auf das 
Haupt des Riesen schwingende Thor. 1st doch "Meister 
Hammerlein" auch ein gebrauchlicher Beiname des 
Teufels/ ('Behind the Smith of Bielefeld, Apolda, etc., 
in the well-known folk-tales, who hammers the Devil in 
a sack on an anvil till he is limp as a rag, so that he 
shriekingly implores to be set free, is certainly concealed 
as we shall presently show Thor swinging his hammer 
on the head of the giant. After all, 'Master Hammerkin' 
is also a common nickname for the Devil/) Incidentally, 
the fact that the Devil can thus be identified both with 

1 See Grimm, op. cit. S. 852-855, and Nachtrag, S. 301. WUnscbe, loc. cit. 
1 See especially Wiinsche's book, in comparison with the chapter 46 on 'Der 
geblendete Riese' in L. Laistner's Das Rdtsel der Sphinx, 1889, Bd. ii. S. 109-151. 
* Wiinsche, op. cit. S. 13, 14, 

<?H. vi THE DEVIL 175 

Thor and his hammer on the one hand, and on the other 
hand with the giant Thor overcomes is a good illustration 
of our thesis that the Devil can represent both elements 
in the Father-Son equation. A favourite device was to 
bargain with the Devil for the sale of a soul on condition 
that he carried out some work before cock-crow, and 
then at the last moment to make a cock-crow by pinching 
it or to imitate the sound so that wakened cocks in the 
neighbourhood really crowed. Even a horse could hood- 
wink the poor Devil. 1 It is significant for the present 
argument that in all these stories the Devil was circum- 
vented by guile, never by force; slyness and guile are 
notoriously the only weapons of the weak child against 
a parent's opposition. 

A powerful person who is easily cheated by a weaker 
one is naturally conceived of as stupid, or at least as 
naive. This contemptuous view is one that children often 
entertain of their parents, partly for the reason just 
stated, and partly as an over-compensatory reaction to 
the other occasions when they feel their ignorance in 
contrast with the parents' knowledge. The tales in which 
the Devil, presenting at times an incredible naivete, is 
easily hoodwinked form an extensive chapter in the his- 
tory of demonolatry, 2 and have furnished an important 
source for the later conception of clowns, buffoons and 
stage-fools. 3 Psycho-analysis of the individual stories, 
which we must renounce here, shows clearly the infantile 
sources of the motives and definitely confirms the con- 
clusions here represented in brief. 

The child-like contempt for the Devil also shows itself 
in many other ways, especially in denial of his potency. 
None of the buildings he erects can he complete, his 
plans and schemes are almost always thwarted at the 
last moment, and on one point in particular all writers 

1 M. jahns, Ross und Reiter , 1872, Bd. i. S. 87. 

2 See Wiinsche, op. cit. cap. viii. 'Der dumme, geprellte Teufel', and the 
section on 'Der dumme Teufel' in Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 394-399- 

8 See the section on 'Der Teufel als Lustigmacher' in Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. i. 
S. 399-404. [Reference may also be made to the analysis of Punch in my essay 
on 'Symbolism', Papers on Psycho- Analysis, 3rd ed. 1923, pp. 162-164, 166-167.] 


are unanimous his lack of semen and consequent ster- 
ility; as we shall see later, this last belief has a deeper 
source than mere contempt. To the same set of beliefs 
may also be ascribed the Devil's supposed detestation 
of salt, for this can be shown to be an ancient mytho- 
logical symbol for semen; 1 Bodin 2 was therefore in a 
sense right when he accounted for the Devil's aversion 
for it on the ground that it is a 'symbol of eternity'. 

Even many of the devices employed to ward off the 
Devil's assaults originate in infantile and sexual sym- 
bolism. A renowned one, often effective when all else 
failed, was to expose one's buttocks and expel flatus at 
him; no less a person than Martin Luther had recourse 
to it. 3 Psycho-analysis has shown that the deepest 
source of the child's defiance of his parents is his refusal 
to control his sphincters at their bidding, and in conse- 
quence the acts just mentioned have been used the world 
over as a sign of defiance or contempt. Another more 
general device for opposing the Devil's might consisted" 
in waving in front of him the Holy Cross, or in simply 
making the sign of the cross. The unconscious phallic 
significance of this symbol has long been known, 4 so that 
to expose the cross of Christ (the Son) before the Devil 
would unconsciously be equivalent to the child's exhibi- 
tionistic defiance of paternal authority. 

The most powerful refuge of the threatened human 
being, however, was to call on the Virgin Mary for help. 
Indeed, so universal was this that the whole matter 
largely resolved itself into a standing fight between the 
Devil and the Holy Mother. Roskoff , 6 who gives many 
examples of this, says: 'Die Thatigkeit des Teufels wird 
iiberdies vornehmlich entwickelt und hervorgerufen 

1 See Ernest Jones, 'Die symbolische Bedeutung des Salzes in Folklore und 
Aberglaube', Imago, 1912, Bd. i. S. 361 and 454. [Reprinted as ch. iv. of Essays 
in Applied Psycho- Analysis, 1923.] 

2 Bodin, op. cit. p. 278. 

8 Freimark, op. cit. S. 84. The original references are given by J. G, Bourke, 
Scatologic Rites of all Nations, 1891, pp. 163, 444. 

4 C. Howard, Sex Worship, 1902, cap. viii. 'The Serpent and the Cross'. 
T. Inman, Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism, 1874. S. Rocco, 
Sex Mythology, including an Account of the Masculine Cross, 1898. 

6 Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 198-205. 

CH. vi THE DEVIL 177 

durch dessen Hass gegen die heilige Jungfrau, der um so 
mehr gesteigert wird, als diese, nach Frauenart, sich in 
alle Angelegenheiten hineinmengt und ihr, wie im ge- 
wohnlichen Leben, in allem willfahren wird, so dass sie 
ihrenWillen immer durchsetzt und ihre Schiitzlinge, die 
nun einmal ihre Gunst durch eifrigen Marienkultus er- 
langt haben, auch nie fallen lasst, wenn sie iibrigens auch 
die argsten Lumpen sein sollten/ ('Moreover, the activity 
of the Devil was especially developed and evoked by his 
hatred for the Holy Virgin. This hatred was all the more 
increased by her habit of meddling in all affairs, in the 
manner of women, and of always getting her own way, 
so that she never leaves her protegees in the lurch once 
they have won her favour by zealous worship at the 
Mary cult, even though they be the most scoundrelly 
rascals/) It is surely impossible to overlook the analogy 
between this situation and that of the child running to 
his mother for protection against an ill-tempered father, 
with the consequent marital bickering. 1 

(3) The Son who imitates the Father 

The Devil was not altogether the enemy of God; in 
certain respects he might almost be called His repre- 
sentative, or at least His agent. Not only did he mock 
and torture the people he had succeeded in tempting 
to sin, 2 but he apparently went out of his way to punish 
the wicked. 3 He was specially severe in respect of sexual 
indulgence; one of his persecutions was, to quote Graf, 4 
'einen Mann und ein Weib bei fleischlicher Siinde in fla- 
granti zu ertappen und beide unaufloslich aneinander zu 
fesseln, more canino' ('to surprise inflagranti a man and 
woman in carnal sin and to bind them together insep- 
arably, more canino'). It is noteworthy that in the Old 
Testament, at the time when the conceptions of God and 

1 [I have suggested that the same mechanism accounts for the present form 
assumed by the game of chess; see International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 
vol. xii. 1931, p. 4.] 

8 Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 270. 

8 Jacob, op. cit. pp. 22-33. 4 Graf, op. cit. S. 136. 



Devil were only beginning to get disengaged from each 
other, the association between the two was much closer 
than later, and the Devil appears really as the obedient 
servant of God the Father, differing from the good angels 
only in respect of the unpleasant nature of the tasks 
allotted him. 

This 'identification' with God is at times very close in- 
deed, and it is interesting to note that it was deliberately 
striven for by the Devil, who copied God to a truly re- 
markable extent. As until the past half -century the 
worship of Christ has been on the whole more prominent 
than that of God the Father, it is not astonishing that 
the Devil's resemblance to the Son has been greater than 
that to the Father. His physical appearance was at first 
depicted as beautiful and majestic, 1 often closely re- 
sembling Christ's; indeed he sometimes actually ap- 
peared in the exact form of Christ. 2 It was only in the 
Middle Ages that he became invested with ugly and 
grotesque traits. 3 Like Jesus, the Devil had twelve dis- 
ciples, 4 descended into hell and was born again, 5 had his 
home in special churches, was worshipped at regularly 
recurring festivals, and had his followers baptized, while 
the details of the Devil's Sabbath caricatured the Holy 
Mass so closely that the resemblance greatly angered the 
theologians, who had of course no notion of the psycho- 
logical identity of the two. The Devil even had a special 
Bible of his own; it was written in Bohemia and is now 
in the Royal library in Stockholm. 6 Further, he copied 
the Trinitarian conception itself. 7 It is little wonder that 
this habit of caricaturing earned him the title of 'God's 

1 Graf, op. cit. S. 52-54. 

Graf, op. cit. S. 64. Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 194. 

In the remarkable paintings by Wiertz we have a return to the earlier 
conception which Giotto was previously the last to depict. 

Grimm, op. cit. Nachtrag, S. 292, 302. 

A. Lehmann, Aberglaube und Zauberei, Deutsche Obersetzung, zweite 
Auflage, 1908, S. 114. 

A. Nystrom, Christentum und freies Denken, 1909, S. 161. 

Didron (in his Manuel d'icono graphic chrttienne, Iconograph H. p. 23) shows 
the French idea of the devil trinity in the fifteenth century. Dante's Satan was 
three-faced. Eusebius called the Devil Three-headed Beelzebub*. 



Like Jesus also the Devil was provided with an earthly 
mother and no father, and characteristically enough she 
was a giantess, even larger than her son; 1 in some ver- 
sions she appears as his grandmother. The mother seems 
to have been composed of at least three figures. Both the 
death-goddess Hel 2 and the mother of the giant Grendel 3 
contributed to the idea; one of the Devil's later by-names 
was Grendel, perhaps the same as the English fire-demon 
'Grant' of whom Gervasius of Tilbury speaks. Then 
Wiinsche 4 points out that 'wahrscheinlich bildet auch 
die Sage von der Ellermutter, der neunhundertkopfigen 
Mutter Hymirs, die die beiden Gotter Thor und Tyr 
beim Besuch in ihrer Wohnung durch Verstecken vor 
ihrem grimmigen Sohn rettet, die Grundlage zu der 
volkstiimlichen Figur von des Teufels Grossmutter. Im 
Marchen vom Gliickskinde bei Grimm Nr. 29 heisst des 
Teufels Grossmutter geradezu noch Ellermutter' ('the 
basis for the popular figure of the Devil's Grandmother 
is probably laid also by the saga of Ellermutter, the 
nine-hundred-headed mother of Hymir, who saved the 
two gods Thor and Tyr from her ferocious son by hiding 
them when they visited her dwelling'). In most of these 
legends, as in the last one mentioned, the Devil really is 
again a mythological presentation of the hated father; 
hence the replacement of the mother by the grandmother. 
The same remark applies to the old saying that thunder 
or rain during sunshine comes from the Devil beating his 
mother. 6 

The conception of the Devil as the Son is another, very 
natural ground for the belief that he has no semen, and 
the bisexual nature of the whole belief is shown in the 
idea that he can impregnate a woman only after having 
first obtained some semen by acting as a Succubus to a 
man, 6 which was the reason why it was always cold. 7 
This curious procedure gave rise to the most hair- 

1 Grimm, op. cit. S. 841. 2 Wuttke, op. cit. S. 37. 

3 Roskoff, op. cit. Bel. i. S. 164. 4 Wunsche, op. cit. S. 15. 

5 Grimm, op. cit. S. 842. 

6 W. G. Soldan, Geschichte der Hexenprozesse, 1880 edition, Bd. i. S. 181. 

7 Jacob, op. cit. p. 86. 


splitting controversies to decide whether the offspring 
in such circumstances legally belonged to the original 
owner of the semen or to the Devil, 1 and whether the 
same rule was to apply here as in the case when the Devil 
acquired the semen from a man's nocturnal pollution. 2 
To this idea of the sexual incapacity of the child I would 
also relate the belief in the limping God or Devil, which 
as Tylor 8 has pointed out, is to be found in the most 
varied stages of cultural development; incapacity to 
walk is among neurotics a frequent symbol for sexual 
impotence. The belief is of course highly over-determined, 
and has to do with all sorts of ideas connected with the 
castration complex. Castration wishes against the Father 
(God) are contained in it, while on the other hand the 
fact that the limp is so 'often the result of being hurled 
from heaven points to the castration fears of the son, his 
dread that the father will punish him in this appropriate 

Finally, we may mention in connection with the aspect 
of the Devil here under discussion his extraordinary 
capacity for gratitude; on the rare occasions when he is 
honestly treated he shows the highest appreciation of the 
treatment. 4 

(4) The Son who defies the Father 

This is the prime aspect of the Devil, the Arch-rebel; 
his insubordinate disobedience and final insurrection 
against the authority of God the Father is the very para- 
digma of revolution. According to Origenes, 6 it was his 
arrogance and presumptuousness that constituted the 
reason for his being cast out of heaven, while, according 
to Irenaus, Tertullian and others, 6 the chief reason was 
his envy of God. The latter seems to be the earlier of the 

1 J. Sprenger und H. Institoris, Der Hexenhammer, 1588. Deutsche t)ber- 
setzung, 1906, Erster Teil, S. 51. 

2 Sprenger und Institoris, op. cit. Zweiter Teil, S. 64. 

* E. B. Tylor, Researches into the Early History of Mankind, 3rd ed., 1878, 

PP- 365-37L 

4 Conway, op. cit. vol. ii. pp. 389, 395. 

* Cited by Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 231. 8 Roskoff, loc. cit. 

CH. vi THE DEVIL l8l 

two; Roskoff 1 says: 'Das Motiv zur Feindschaft des 
Bosen gegen die Gottheit, der Ursprung des Bosen in der 
Welt ist sowohl nach der hebraischen Vorstellung vom 
nachexilischen Satan als auch in den Mythen anderer 
Volker, namentlich der Parsen, auf den Neid zuriickge- 
fiihrt, der in der Ich- und Selbstsucht wurzelt/ ('In the 
Hebrew idea of Satan as conceived after the exile as well 
as in the myths of other peoples, notably the Parsees, 
the reason for the enmity of the Evil One against the 
Godhead, and therefore the source of evil in the world, 
is to be traced to envy, which originates in selfishness/) 
What Nietzsche called the slave-morality of Christianity 
has always regarded pride as one of the deadly sins. 

As is well known, a boy's insubordination against his 
father is not simply a matter of hostility; it is always 
accompanied by envy, which means admiration and 
desire to emulate. In his revolt, therefore, as a rule he 
in no sense frees himself from his fathers influence. 
Whether he copies him directly or proceeds to the oppo- 
site extreme of trying to be as unlike him as possible is 
psychologically irrelevant; both reactions are equally 
imitation. This mixed reaction precisely applies to the 
Devil. He either tries to imitate God exactly or else, as 
we shall presently see in some detail, he does everything 
in just the opposite way from God's. His behaviour is 
thus ultimately derived altogether from God's, whether 
positively or negatively another proof of the original 
identity of the two Beings. Further, the precise corre- 
spondence of the Devil's behaviour in this respect with 
that of earthly sons supports the thesis here sustained 
of the origin of the Devil idea in the relations between 
son and father. 

The bond that unites him against his will to God 
also displays itself in his jealousy of anyone to whom 
God shows special favour, another trait typical of child- 
hood. In the legend of St. Coleta it runs: 2 'Der alte Feind 
habe die Eigentumlichkeit, je mehr er sehe, dass sich 
jemand Gott nahere, desto mehr suche er ihn zu ver- 

1 Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 194. * Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 160. 


folgen, zu beunruhigen und abzuhalten, grossere Ubel 
iiber ihn zu verhangen und sie zu vermehren/ (The old 
Enemy has this peculiarity, that the more he observes 
anyone approaching God the more he seeks to persecute 
him, to annoy him and thwart him, to hang misfortunes 
over him and to multiply them/) 

The same motive of jealousy is probably also the ex- 
planation of his attitude towards Jesus, although of 
course this was partly determined also by the identifica- 
tion of God the Son with God the Father. Through God's 
action in sending Christ to redeem mankind, the struggle 
for the ownership of its members became primarily one 
between Christ and the Devil. The doctrine of Salvation 
was constructed out of it, 1 and, as Graf 2 ironically re- 
marks, 'Seltsam genug! Unter den Menschen war niemals 
die Rede soviel von Satanas, niemals wurde er so sehr 
gefiirchtet wie nach dem Siege Christi, nach dem Voll- 
zug der Erlosung.' ('How curious! There was never so 
much talk about Satan, never was he so much dreaded, 
until after the victory of Christ, after Salvation had 
been achieved/) The Devil, again imitating God, made 
desperate efforts to capture the world by providing a 
son of his own who would conquer Christ. Merlin and 
Robert the Devil represented two such attempts, 3 but 
the former was saved to God through his mother's re- 
pentance and the latter through his own. Nero, Moham- 
med and Luther, no less than several of the Popes, were 
similarly reputed to be sons of the Devil, begotten for 
this purpose. In the Middle Ages the fear of the threat- 
ened Antichrist was terrific, and the tension of anxious 
expectation of his birth was heightened to indescribable 
terror by recurrent rumours and prophecies of the 
event. 4 

Finally, the Devil's passionate hatred of injustice and 
his custom of defending the innocent, particularly the 
poor and weak, against their persecutors accords with 

1 Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 224-229, 273. 

8 Graf, op. cit. S. 22. 

* Graf, op. cit. S. 198-203. * Conway, op. cit. pp. 389, 390. 



the aspect of the Devil idea as a representation of the 
feelings of the rebellious Son. 

* He * # * 

We may now turn to our third problem, namely the 
relation of the belief in the Devil to the experiences of 
the Nightmare. The considerations adduced in the first 
chapter would lead one to expect that in the creation of 
such an 'anxiety-idea' par excellence as the belief in the 
Devil, a considerable part must have been played by 
the most intense anxiety experience known to man, 
namely the Nightmare. This inference has been drawn 
by several previous writers. We have, for instance, 
already cited the opinions of Clodd and Hofler on this 
matter. 1 It is in full accord with this conclusion that the 
Devil is pre-eminently a demon of the night, for it is by 
night that he mostly appears, and it is at night that his 
powers are believed to reach their zenith. 2 

It would be quite intelligible if this belief had in part 
originated in the manifest content of the Nightmare, 
with its terrifying visions, and this is evidently the view 
of previous writers, notably Laistner, but a careful com- 
parison of the belief with the latent content of the 
Nightmare shows such an extraordinary resemblance 
between the two as definitely to demonstrate an inherent 
relationship between them. 

It was pointed out above that the two chief charac- 
teristics of the latent content of the Nightmare are that 
it is essentially sexual and predominantly incestuous. 
Of the sexual activities of the Devil no more need be 
said; it is sufficiently illustrated by the Abyssinian pro- 
verb: 'When a woman sleeps alone, the Devil sleeps with 
her/ It is especially noteworthy that the predecessors 
of the mediaeval Devil were all formal Incubi. Pan, from 
whom the Devil took over so many attributes, was the 
equivalent of Ephialtes, 3 the spirit who provided us with 
what was till recently the scientific name for the Night- 

1 See Part II. p. 73 and Part II. p. 85 respectively. * Graf, op. cit. S. 108. 
3 W. H. Roscher, Ephialtes, Eine pathologisch-mythologische Abhandlung ilber 
die Alptrdume und Alpddmonen des klassischen Altertums, 1900, S. 57-62. 


mare; the fauns of Greece were also active Incubi. 1 
Casting further back we find that the storm demons of 
Babylonia and of India, the alu 2 or marut 3 respectively, 
the precursors of Ares and Ephialtes, were called 'the 
crushers' from their habit of lying on the breast of 
sleepers; the Teutonic giant Grendel, of whom mention 
has also been made above, had the same custom. 4 

The facts just cited indicate that the belief in the 
Devil is closely connected with ancestor worship; more 
than three hundred years ago Burton 5 expressed the 
view that devils were merely the souls of the departed, 
i.e. of ancestors. If the thesis here maintained is correct, 
namely that the Devil idea is the projection of repressed 
wishes connected with the father, it follows that inter- 
course with him symbolizes incest with the father. The 
fact that the snake, the symbol of the father's phallus, 
plays an equally prominent part in the Devil idea as in 
the rest of the Nightmare mythology illustrates the 
origin of both in incestuous thoughts. 

In the various stories of the Devil we find many details 
strongly suggestive of the mental processes character- 
istic of dreams, and two of them may be briefly mentioned 
here. One of the most typical of these is the power of 
transformation. We have mentioned above the capacity 
of the Devil for assuming any human form he wished, 6 
and also have called attention to the frequency with 
which he appeared in the shape of a serpent or he-goat. 
But there was no possible kind of animal whose form 
he did not assume at times, 7 and he even had the power 
of changing human beings into animals. 8 Another ex- 
ample is the psychological process known as 'reversal', 
the putting or doing things backwards or upside down, 
which Freud 9 has shown to be exceedingly character- 

1 Roskoff, op. cit. S. 146. 

2 T. G. Pinches, The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, 1906, p. 108. 

8 G. W. Cox, The Mythology of the Aryan Nations, 1870, vol. ii. pp. 222, 253. 
4 Grimm, op. cit. S. 849. 

6 R. Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, 1826 ed. f vol. i. p. 5. 

6 See Jacob, op. cit. pp. 33-43. 

7 Graf, op^cit. S. 59, 138. 8 Roskoff, op. cit. S. 305. 

9 Sigm. Freud, Die Traumdeutung, Dritte Auflage, 1911, S. 257. 



istic of dream productions perhaps even more so. than 
of other unconscious processes. Most of the writers on 
the Devil have noted this feature, especially in regard 
to the Sabbath. Thus those present at this festival dance 
backwards 1 in a ring, in the reverse direction to the sun 
(widdershins) with their faces turned away from the 
centre, 2 they dip their left hand in the holy water 3 (the 
Devil's urine 4 ), make the sign of the cross in the reverse 
direction, 5 partake of black bread at the Mass 6 and while 
this is being performed make use of black candles. 7 
The Devil himself had a second face on the buttocks, 
and this was often the face of a beautiful woman* 
his penis was often situate behind instead of in front, 9 
his person emitted a hellish stink that contrasted with 
the heavenly fragrance of the Saviour, 10 and so on. 

To the dream origin may also be largely attributed 
the circumstance that coitus with the Devil was as a 
rule extremely painful and disagreeable, 11 for this is 
often so in anxiety dreams in which coitus takes 

A few words may now be said on the resemblances 
between the belief in the Devil and those discussed in 
the three preceding chapters. The first of these, the 
belief in the Incubus, was an essential constituent of the 
Devil idea, since according to the orthodox view the 
Incubi themselves were simply devils. Even with the 
immediate equivalent of the classical Incubi, the 
German Alp, the idea of the Devil stood in the closest 
association, 12 one, however, we cannot pursue further 
here, for the theme is purely a mythological one. 

Grimm, op. cit. S. 895. 

Lehmann, op. cit. S. 114. 

BreVannes, op. cit. p. 123. 

B. Picart, Coutumes et ceremonies religieuscs, 1729, vol. viii. p. 69. 

Br6vannes, loc. cit. 

De Lancre, op. cit. p. 460. 

Th. de Cauzons, La Magie ct la sorcellcrie en France, t. i. p. 240. 

Brdvannes, op. cit. p. 115. 

De Lancre, op. cit. p. 217. 

10 Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 156. 

11 Delrio, Les Controverses et recherches magiques, 1611, p. 187. O. Henne am 
Rhyn, Der Teufels- und Hexenglaube, 1892, S. 68. 

12 See Grimm, op. cit. S, 847, and Nachtrag, S. 298. 


The relation between the belief in the Devil and that 
in the Werewolf and Vampire lies more in the latent con- 
tent common to them than in external similarities, but 
even in the latter respect many points of interest may 
be observed. Thus the Devil was commonly named 'the 
soul-robbing wolf by the Fathers of the Church, 1 and in 
the laws of Canute he is termed Vodfreca verewulf . 2 In 
the Middle Ages the Devil was known as the arch- wolf , 
Archil\ipus, and he often appeared in the guise of a wolf. 3 
Grimm 4 traces the Slavonic names for the Devil (Polish 
wrog, Servian vrag, etc.) to the Old High German warg 
( =wolf), and the Slavonic evil spirit Czernobog usually 
appeared in the form of a wolf. 5 The mediaeval Devil's 
descent from a wolf seems to have been mainly Teutonic, 
notably from Odin's two wolves. Wiinsche 6 writes: 
'Neben Loki wird aber auch dem Fenrirwolf nach meh- 
reren missgliickten Versuchen mit einem von den Zwer- 
gen verfertigten unzerreissbaren Bande von den Gottern 
eine Fessel angelegt. In der Redensart: "Der Teufel ist 
los", haben wir sicher noch eine Erinnerung an Fenrirs 
wiederholtes Sichfreimachen von den starken Banden 
und Stricken, die ihm von den Gottern um den Hals 
geschlungen wurden/ (The Gods after several unsuccess- 
fuiattempts managed to bind the Fenrir wolf, as well as 
Loki, with an unbreakable girdle manufactured by the 
dwarves. In the saying "the Devil is loose" we certainly 
have a memory of the numerous occasions on which 
Fenrir broke loose from the strong chains and cords that 
the Gods had fastened round his neck/) In the Middle 
Ages the Devil was also called 'the wolf of heir, and 
Grimm 7 remarks: 'der Teufel hat seinen ungeheuren 
Rachen mit Wolf und Holle gemein' ('the Devil has a 
monstrous gorge in common with the wolf and with 
helF). Of historical interest is the case of Angela de 

1 The association between Satan and a wolf is still current, as may be seen 
from Browning's poem, 'Ivan Ivanovitch'. 

2 Grimm, op. cit. S. 32. 

* J. Ennemoser, Geschichte der Magie, zweite Auflage, 1844, S. 791. W. Hertz, 
Der Werwolf, 1862, S. 17. 

4 Grimm, loc. cit. 5 Roskofl, op. cit. Bd. i, S. 174. 

* Wiinsche, op. cit. S. 13. 7 Grimm, loc. cit. 



Labarethe, who is remembered as the first woman to be 
burned for having sexual relations with the Devil in 
1275 in Toulouse; the result of the intercourse was that 
she bore a monster with a wolf's head and a tail like a 
snake. 1 

Of the two cardinal features of the Vampire, namely 
the belief that he is a revenant and his habit of sucking 
blood from a sleeper, the former is the more prominent 
in the Devil belief and was discussed above. The nearest 
indication I have found to the second feature concerns 
the old German devil Grendel, mentioned earlier: Grimm 2 
writes of him 'er trinkt das Blut aus den Adern und 
gleicht Vampyren, deren Lippen von frischem Blut 
benetzt sind. In einer altnordischen Saga findet sich ein 
ahnlicher Damon, Grunr aegir genannt . . . er trinkt das 
Blut aus Menschenund Thieren' ('he drinks the blood out 
of the veins and thus resembles vampires, whose lips are 
sprinkled with fresh blood. In an Old Norse saga there 
is to be found a similar demon, by the name of Grunr 
aegir, ... he drinks the blood of human beings and of 
animals'). The reason I should give for the absence of 
the blood-sucking feature is that with the Devil there is 
no question of a corpse, and in our discussion of the 
psychology of Vampirism we saw how closely connected 
the idea of blood-sucking is with the problem of decom- 
position and re-vivification. 

We may now conclude this chapter with a few general 
remarks on the belief in the Devil. We have seen that 
the infantile conflicts relating to the parents found one 
of its earliest expressions in peopling the universe with 
a number of powerful supernatural beings who were 
sometimes friendly, often ill-disposed, but always in 
need of propitiation. In the development of this set of 
beliefs dream experiences have probably played a pre- 
dominant part. Mainly as the result of a pronounced 
tribal or national spirit, some peoples, notably the Jews, 
gradually fused these beings and thus developed a kind 

1 E. L. de Lamothe-Langon, Histoire de I' Inquisition en France, 1829, t. 2, 
p. 614. 2 Grimm, op. cit. S. 849, 850. 


of practical monotheism. This process, however, brought 
with it the necessity of allotting the good and evil attri- 
butes of the superior powers to two distinct Persons, and 
the more was good ascribed to the one the more did evil 
concentrate in the other. The exaggerated notion of sin 
characteristic of Christianity, and the sharper contrast 
between good and evil inculcated by its doctrine of salv- 
ation, resulted, it is true, in a loftier conception of God, 
but also in the creation of a Devil beside the horror of 
whom all earlier conceptions pale. In the past century or 
so, and especially during the last fifty years, the inten- 
sity of the Devil belief has largely faded, the belief in a 
benevolent Deity having proved the more tenacious of 
the two; the psychological explanation of this different 
fate with the two beliefs is in itself a matter of consider- 
able interest, the discussion of which, however, would 
lead us too far from the present theme. The change 
did not come about without considerable theological 
struggle, since it obviously increased the difficulty of re- 
conciling the existence of evil with the omnipotence of a 
benevolent Deity. The problem of evil, which has al- 
ways proved baffling to theologians because inherently 
insoluble on theological premises, has been mainly cir- 
cumvented by recourse, to the view, developed in the 
fifth century, 'dass die Ubel der Welt als Strafe oder als 
unbegreifliches Besserungsmittel. zum heilsamen Fort- 
schreiten in der Erkenntnis, zur Ubung in der Geduld im 
Hinblick auf eine bessere Zukunft zu betrachten seien' 1 
('that the evil in the world is to be regarded as a punish- 
ment or as an incomprehensible means of improvement 
towards wholesome progress in knowledge and as an 
exercise in patience with a view to a better future'). How 
long humanity will rest content with such sophisms it is 
hard to say; the continued success of Mrs. Eddy's teach- 
ing that evil does not exist objectively, but only subjec- 
tively, would seem -to point to a growing dissatisfaction 
with the orthodox explanations, though this considera- 
tion might have been a source of more encouragement 

1 Roskoff, op. cit. S. 267. 



had that lady herself found it possible to dispense with 
her elaborate system of demonic influences. 

Still the Devil dies hard. As Freimark 1 puts it, 'Wer- 
wolf und Vampir hatten f iir den Kulturmenschen langst 
ihre Schrecken verloren, nicht einmal mehr die Kinder 
mochten sie fiirchten und auch das Alpdriicken des 
Hexenwahns hatte Europa von sich abgeschuttelt, nur 
Satan wich nicht/ ('Werewolf and Vampire have long 
since lost their terrors for educated people, they do not 
even frighten children any longer, and Europe has even 
shaken off the nightmare of the witchcraft delusion; only 
Satan does not yield/) We still occasionally read in the 
newspapers of a clerical exorcism of an hysteric pos- 
sessed by the Devil, 2 and the belief in an actual Devil is 
still officially held by the Catholic Church and by most 
clergy of other Churches. One of the scenes of the closing 
years of the enlightened nineteenth century that de- 
serves to live in history was the famous Miss Vaughan 
swindle, 3 in which Pope Leo XIII and several bishops 
officially blessed a lady who, though born of a union be- 
tween her mother and the Devil, had been triumphantly 
saved to the Church; in the next year, 1897, Taxil con- 
fessed that not only the whole story, but even the lady 
herself, was a product of his imagination. 

1 Freimark, op. cit. S. 334. 

2 It will hardly be believed, but when practising in Canada (in 1911) I had 
considerable difficulty in dealing with a physician (!) who wanted to treat a 
case of dementia praecox by reading to her passages from the Bible so as to 
drive out the devil which he was convinced was inside her. 

[To bring the matter still more up to date, I may quote from the Sunday 
Times of March 30, 1930, the case of a Ruthenian who so fully accepted his 
fellow- villagers' belief that he was possessed by the Devil that, after failing to 
get relief from the local priest's endeavours at exorcism, he hanged himself. 
His family and neighbours refused to touch the body, and it had to be buried 
by the authorities.] 

8 M. Kemmerich, Kitltur Kuriosa, S. 229-234. 



problems relating to Witches, although inti- 
mately allied to those of the belief in the Devil, 

JL are still more complicated than these: for on the 
one hand there entered into the construction of the be- 
lief in Witchcraft even more factors than into the idea 
of the Devil, and on the other hand it concerned not 
imaginary beings, as the Incubus, Vampire, Werewolf 
and Devil beliefs did, but actual living and suffering 
human beings. It will never be known how many of these 
actually believed in the reality of the supposed occur- 
rences. It is certain that many did not, for after confess- 
ing them under the most gruesome torture they ad- 
mitted their innocence to their father-confessor, on the 
strict condition that he was to keep silent and thus allow 
them to be executed without being subjected to fresh 
and unendurable torture. Often, however, the mental 
state of the victims was such as to make them convinced 
that they had truly committed the 'crimes' of which 
they had been accused. 

As in the previous chapter, we may distinguish several 
problems here, particularly: 

(1) The fundamental psychological explanation of the 

belief in the idea of Witches; 

(2) The reason why the epidemic belief broke out at 

a given period; and 

(3) The relations between it and the experiences of 


The thesis that will be maintained here in regard to 
the first of these problems is that the Witch belief repre- 
sents in the main an exteriorization of the repressed sexual 
conflicts of women, especially those relating to the feminine 
counterpart of the infantile Oedipus situation. Just as the 
child's conception of the father becomes dissociated into 


PT. n CH. vii WITCHES 191 

its beneficent and its malevolent aspects, giving rise to 
the beliefs in a God and a Devil respectively, so does 
that of the mother divide into the corresponding two, 
which give rise to the beliefs in Goddesses (Mater Dei, 
etc.) and female fiends respectively. Riklin 1 has inci- 
dentally suggested that the conception of giantesses, 
witches and the like, represents the girl's attitude to- 
wards the mother as a sexual rival, and this view agrees 
with the one here put forward. But, just as both sexes 
contributed to the conception of the Devil, so we shall 
find that both contributed to that of the Witch. 

Before considering the historical aspects of the Witch 
belief it will be well to discuss the essential features of 
it in its fully developed stage. These may broadly be 
divided into three groups, which were originally inde- 
pendent of one another and became fused only in the 
course of the thirteenth century. They are: 

1. Those concerning the relation of the Witch to her 

fellow creatures; 

2. Those concerning her relation to the Devil; and 

3. Those concerning her relation to God. 

These three features may be briefly designated by the 
words Maleficium, Pact and Heresy respectively. In the 
Witch epidemic proper the Maleficium was the least 
characteristic, so that we may dismiss it first. Although 
it was the element that least sharply distinguished the 
Witch proper from the ancient magician and soothsayer, 
being indeed a direct continuation of the attributes of 
these, it was nevertheless of cardinal importance in the 
persecution of Witches. The reason for this was as fol- 
lows. The initiative for the persecution came, as is well 
known, mainly from the Church, which was greatly con- 
cerned to uproot heresy and to counteract the power of 
the Devil. The laity, however, was not primarily inter- 
ested in these theological undertakings, so the Church 
had to stimulate their zeal by combining the objects of 
its persecution with the primaeval notion of harmful 

1 F. Riklin, Wunscherfiillung und Symbolik im Mdrchen, 1906, S. 74. 


magic (Maleficium) . Roused by the dread of this they 
joined forces with the Church to destroy, for different 
reasons, the hated sources of Maleficium, which the 
Church declared to be one with heresy and pacts with 
the Devil. Without this combination the antagonism to 
Witches could never have achieved the universal inten- 
sity it did, one which can only be described as constitut- 
ing an epidemic panic. We have therefore to inquire 
carefully into the nature of the dread in question. 

The harmful activities of Witches extended from 
trivial annoyances to the gravest injuries, including 
even death itself. Careful consideration of them reveals, 
in my opinion, that the dread behind the belief in this 
Maleficium was the fundamental fear of mankind con- 
cerning incapacity or failure of the sexual functions. The 
reasons for this conclusion are that nearly all examples 
of bewitching relate either directly to the production of 
sexual impotence (including sterility) or to symbolic re- 
presentations of this. 

In the first place, it is to be observed that the most 
frequent manifestation of Witchcraft was the direct in- 
terference with sexual functions, and particularly the 
bringing about of impotence. Hansen 1 remarks: 'Die 
Behexung trifft weitaus am haufigsten die geschlecht- 
lichen Beziehungen zwischen Mann und Weib.' (The 
act of bewitching affected the sexual relations between 
man and woman far more often than anything else/) In 
the celebrated Bull on Witchcraft 2 the subject of Male- 
ficium is treated under seven headings, of which six are 
concerned directly with the sexual functions and one 
with the transformation into animals. The well-known 
Malleus Malificarum 3 devotes four chapters to a de- 

1 J. Hansen, Zauberwahn, Inquisition und Hexenprozess im Mittelalter, 
1900, S. 479. 

2 Quoted in Der Hexenhammer, Deutsche Ubersetzung von Schmidt, 1906, 
Erster Teil, S. 107. [An English translation of this has recently been published 
for the first time.] 

8 Der Hexenhammer, op. cit. Erster Teil, ch. 8, 9 and Zweiter Teil, ch. 6, 7. 
See S. 131, 143-145 for the differential diagnosis between impotence from 
coldness of nature and impotence from witchcraft, and J. Hansen, op. cit. 
S. 88-92, 1 66, on the significance of this difference for divorce. 



tailed consideration of the question of the means where- 
by this impotence is brought about, and lays special 
stress on the fact that, in contrast with it, Witchcraft 
cannot interfere with any other natural human function, 
such as eating, walking, etc. 1 It fully discusses also the 
different ways in which the penis can be 'bewitched 
away', either in reality or through illusion. One favourite 
measure was by the use of the ligature de I'aiguillette, 
of which Brevannes 2 states that no less than fifty dif- 
ferent procedures for its employment have been de- 
scribed. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries this was 
in such frequent vogue, and was so generally feared, that 
it became customary to carry out marriages in secret so 
as to avoid the evil spell. The Maleficium extended its 
influence further in the same direction. Through it the 
love between a given man and woman could be annihi- 
lated, barrenness of women and sterility of men induced, 
the intra-uterine embryo destroyed and miscarriages 
effected. 3 Even when all these perils were passed the re- 
sulting offspring was not safe, since Witches had a 
passion for devouring new-born children, unbaptized 
ones being especially exposed to this danger. 

Most of the other instances of Maleficium symbolize 
the same fear. The next most frequent was the destruc- 
tion of crops, through rain or hailstones, or the render- 
ing infertile of the land belonging to a particular person; 
in all ages the association between the fertility of mail- 
kind and that of nature has been conceived to be very 
intimate, as is shown by the fact, among a thousand 
others, that the same Goddesses presided over both. 
Even the minor instances of Witchcraft allow of the 
same interpretation. Common ones of these, for ex- 
ample, were turning the milk sour (i.e. damaging the 
semen), hindering butter-making (the symbolic meaning 
of which has been elucidated by Abraham 4 ), and inter- 

1 Der Hexenhammer, op. cit. Erster Teil, S. 127^ 

2 R. Brevannes, L'Orgie satanique a tr avers les sticks, 1904, p. 71. 

8 These and many other details mentioned in the present chapter are taken 
from Hansen, op. cit. 

4 K. Abraham, Traum und My thus. 1909, S. 66. 



faring with the action of the spindle, i.e. with the work- 
ings of the machine. 1 The only bodily function that 
Witches could harm apart from the sexual one was that 
of urinating, a function more closely allied to the sexual 
than is generally realized; 2 in France to inflict this injury 
was called cheviller* 

The belief that Witchcraft could bring about illness 
and death 4 is connected with the same complex, for 
psycho-analysis has shown that an undue fear of these 
is conditioned by a deeper dread of impotence, with 
which the other ideas easily become associated. A further 
source for this belief is the association between it and 
the idea of a sadistic assault; folk thought mostly re- 
gards illness and death as the consequence of an attack 
on the part of an evil demon who violently overpowers 
one ultimately the antagonistic father. The action of 
Witchcraft in this respect was performed by means of 
poison, either material or incorporeal, and poison i.e. a 
fluid that produces serious effects on being taken into 
the body is a common unconscious symbol for semen, 
as we know from the delusions of depressed and anxious 

It is noteworthy that the charms by which Maleficium 
was warded off were, appropriately enough for the talion 
law, for the most part sexual symbols, as indeed have 
been most magical charms, amulets, etc., of all ages. 
The two most widely believed in as efficacious against 
Witchcraft seem to have been salt 5 and horseshoes. As 
was pointed out in the preceding chapter, salt is in folk- 
lore one of the most widely spread symbols for semen, 
and therefore fertility; salt and water is a common folk- 
lore equivalent of urine, 6 i.e. the infantile semen. 7 Salt 

1 See Freud, Die Traumdeutung, Dritte Auflage, 1911, S. 211. 

2 See J. Sadger, 'tJber Urethralerotik', Psychoanalytisches Jahrbuch, 1910, 
Bd. ii. S. 409. 

5 J. A. S. Collin de Plancy, Dictionnaire infernal, 1818, t. i. p. 7. 

4 J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, Vierte Ausgabe, 1876, S. 965. 

5 S. Seligmann, Der hose Blick und Verwandtes, 1910, Bd. ii. S. 34. A. Wuttke, 
Der deutsche V oik saber glaube der Gegenwart, 1900, S. 95, 258, 283. 

6 J. G. Bourke, Scatologic Rites of all Nations, 1891. 

7 See Sadger, op. cit. 



and bread (symbol of faeces, another infantile sexual 
material 1 ) were also widely used against Witchcraft. The 
mixture of the two emphasized the idea of fertility; 2 the 
same mixture, by the way, was also used for bringing to 
a girl the picture of her future lover in a dream. 8 Horse- 
shoes, that universal talisman of good luck, were also 
extensively used to guard against Witches; 4 Lawrence, 5 
who has discussed at length the folklore of the horseshoe, 
calls it the 'anti- witch charm par excellence . The vulval 
symbolism of this is pretty generally recognized by 
students of folklore and others. Other objects of allied 
shape and meaning have also been employed for the 
same purpose: thus stones with a hole bored through 
them, called from this connection 'hag-stones' or 'holy 
stones'. 6 Several of these objects are mentioned together 
in Butler' sHudibr as (ii. 3. 291), where it is said that the 
conjuror could 

Chase evil spirits away by dint 
Of sickle, horseshoe, hollow flint. 

Other anti- witch charms that may be just mentioned 
are: an upright knife, 7 a broomstick, 8 a horse's skull, 9 
and the figure of a goblin's foot (a pentagram) 10 ; the first 
two are masculine symbols, the other two bisexual ones. 
The explanation of this mass belief in the Maleficium 
of Witches is not simple. It must have a very general 
basis, since something akin to it may be traced in vary- 
ing measure at all epochs. In general one may remark 
that there exists the closest connection between magic 
and sexuality, as Bloch, 11 Hansen 12 and others have de- 
monstrated, so that one is justified in suspecting the 

1 See Sigm. Freud, Sammlung kleiner Schriften zur Neurosenlehre, Zweite 
Folge, 1909, S. 168. [Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. v. S. 178; Collected Papers, 
vol. ii. p. 68.] 

8 Aigremont, Fuss- und Schuhsymbolik und Erotik, 1909, S. 55. 

8 Wuttke, op. cit. S. 244. 

4 J. Brand, Popular Antiquities of Great Britain, 1849, vol. Hi. pp. 16, 17. 

5 R. M. Lawrence, The Magic of the Horseshoe, 1899, p. 88. 

6 J. G. Dalyell, The Darker Superstitions of Scotland, 1835, p. 140. E, H. 
Meyer, Germanische Mythologie, 1891, S. 119, 137. 

7 Wuttke, op. cit. S. 259. 8 Wuttke, op. cit. S. 130. 

9 Lawrence, op. cit. p. 87. 10 Grimm, op. cit. Nachtrag, S. 456, 459. 
11 I. Bloch, Das Sexualleben unserer Zeit, Zweite Auflage, 1907, S. 128. 

ia Hansen, op. cit. S. 12. 


source of the Maleficium of Witches, which so largely 
turned on the question of impotence, to be similarly of 
a sexual nature. 

The problem can be divided into the motives, real or 
supposed, activating the Witches' behaviour or inten- 
tions and, on the other side, the causes of the obviously 
exaggerated fear on the part of their victims. In respect 
of the former question Hansen 1 has suggested the follow- 
ing explanation. He traces it back to the Orient and 
says: 'Sie diirfte in der Vielweiberei, und zwar gleich- 
massig in der natiirlichen Eifersucht der Frauen eines 
Mannes und der physischen Entnervung dieses Mannes 
ihren Ursprung haben. Diese Art von Maleficium hat 
einen ausgesprochen weiblichen Charakter; sie hat viel 
dazu beigetragen, altere, auf die Liebeserfolge der jiin- 
geren, eiferslichtige Frauen in den Verdacht der Hexerei 
zu bringen/ ('It probably takes its origin in polygamy, 
both in the natural jealousy of women in these circum- 
stances and in the physical exhaustion of the men. This 
kind of Maleficium has a pronouncedly feminine char- 
acter; it greatly contributed to bringing older women, 
jealous of the success of their younger sisters, under the 
suspicion of Witchcraft/) This suggestion of Hansen's 
may be supported by the consideration that in the 
Middle Ages the loss of men in the numerous wars was 
so great as to make the social conditions approximate to 
those of the Orient; indeed polygamy was on this ac- 
count allowed in Germany by special laws passed for the 
purpose. The importance of the Crusades also in this 
respect has been pointed out by Buckle. 2 This would pro- 
bably account for a good deal of the inimical attitude of 
unsatisfied women towards more fortunate people, and 
not only towards other women, for on account of their 
tendency to blame their facultative partners for their 
lack of gratification, such women often vent their hos- 
tility on men as well. 

1 J. Hansen, op. cit. S. 12. 

2 H. T. Buckle, History of Civilisation in England, 1857, World's Classics 
Edition, vol. i. p. 129. 

CH. vii WITCHES 197 

More important, however, is the question of why the 
imaginary victims of this hostility should have been so 
terrified. The fears on the part of women, which appear 
to have related principally to conception and child-birth, 
one can understand as a continuation of the childhood 
fears of the same order which arise from the child's sense 
of guilt. To such women 'Witches' must have been per- 
sonifications of the hated and feared mother who is felt 
to be inimical to the private wishes of the girl. It has to 
be remembered that the human heart is always ready to 
fear harm, ill-luck, etc., as a punishment for its own 
buried hostile or criminal wishes, the idea of punishment 
being naturally projected on to the other person con- 
cerned, in this case the mother. 

The corresponding problem in regard to men is more 
obscure, i.e. the question how it came that they devel- 
oped such a terror of certain women. We know, of course, 
that there is a deep-seated propensity on the part of men, 
as of women, to dread interference with their sexual 
functions and that this is always connected with the idea 
of punishment for their own guilt wishes ; and we may 
suppose that the inability of women to obtain sufficient 
gratification at this epoch for the reason advanced above 
would make the matter of masculine potency of unusual 
importance at such a time. But we are more accustomed 
in psycho-analysis to finding this idea of retaliatory pun- 
ishment associated with the thought of other men, 
primarily with the father, rather than with that of 
women. Perhaps we get a clue from the well-known fact 
that Witches on the whole tended to belong to one of 
two groups, either ugly, hateful old women, or beautiful 
and charming young ones. I would suggest that in the 
former case we have to do with a displacement me- 
chanism, the fear belonging to the father being trans- 
ferred to women. We should not forget that the essential 
source not only of the Witches' power, but also of their 
conduct, was derived from the Devil, under whose 
orders they acted: the Devil, however, as was shown in 
the previous chapter, is a personification of the wicked 


father. Further, up to the thirteenth century, before the 
association with the Devil and with the idea of heresy 
was artificially forged, Maleficium was mostly exercised 
by men, by sorcerers; it was only after this date that the 
Church, to serve its own purposes, bodily transferred the 
primary attributes of the older male sorcerers to the new 
race of Witches. This was, after all, only a continuation 
of the Church's characteristic attitude towards women, 
a matter that will be commented on presently. Attrac- 
tive women, just for the reason of their attractiveness, 
were the principal source of 'evil', i.e. of guilt and 
danger, and thus had drawn on to them the hostility of 
all who were concerned with the problem of 'sin', most 
of all the celibate Church. With the other class of women 
another factor entered, namely their own masculinity; 
the homosexual attributes of a certain class of older 
women, notably those of a misanthropic nature, natur- 
ally made it easy to identify them with the idea of the 
hostile father. 

The view that Witches (and sorcerers) were invested 
with attributes derived from the child's conception of its 
parents, principally of disliked and dreaded parents, is 
supported by the interesting fact that there were many 
traces of the other, more friendly aspects of parents to 
be observed in them. Their actions were by no means in- 
variably inimical to their fellow creatures. By means of 
various propitiatory approaches they could be persuaded, 
just like both God and the Devil, to exert their super- 
human powers on behalf of those in need of their help. 
Thus their ability to foretell future events and to see 
things that were happening at a distance was frequently 
called into requisition. Of most assistance, however, was 
their power of invoking love, by love-philtres, love- 
charms, etc., or of destroying it where a hated rival was 
concerned: Witches have been known to go so far on 
occasion as to carry a lover to his mistress through the 
air on their goat. 1 They could even be induced to cure 

1 Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, 1826 edition, vol. i. p. 79 and 
vol. ii. p. 289. 



the impotence caused by sorcery; in reference to this 
Seligmann 1 says: 'Eine Hexe heilte die Manner, indem 
sie mit ihnen wahrend einer Nacht im Ehebett schlief/ 
('A Witch healed men by sleeping for a night in the 
marriage bed/) 

We have next to consider the second group of charac- 
teristics, those to do with the Witch's relations to the 
Devil*, which was the distinctive feature of the witch- 
craft epidemic. The pact with the Devil was the chief 
accusation at Witch trials, perhaps because from the 
nature of the circumstances it could more easily be 
'proved' than either Maleficium or heresy, possibly be- 
cause the Courts found it a more fascinating theme than 
these. Wuttke 2 states: 'Hauptgegenstande der Anklage 
waren der, meist auch geschlechtliche, Verkehr mit dem 
Teufel, die Hexenfahrt durch die Luft und der dort mit 
Tanz, Schmaus und oft auch mit Unzucht gefeierte 
Hexensabbat, wo dem Teufel gehuldigt und manchmal 
geopfert wurde; die Schadigung von Menschen und Vieh 
erscheint dagegen als Nebensache/ (The main counts in 
the charges were the usually sexual intercourse with 
the Devil, the flight through the air, and the Witches' 
Sabbath, celebrated with dances, carousals and often 
also with obscenities, at which adoration of the Devil 
and often sacrifices to him took place: besides these the 
injuring of men and cattle appeared as almost trivial/) 
Soldan 3 similarly designates the pact with the Devil as 
the 'kernel' of the Witch trials. Ennemoser 4 writes: 'Dem 
spateren Begriff der Hexen ist unziichtige Buhlschaft 
wesentlich, sie besiegelt das geschlossene Biindnis und 
verleiht dem Teufel freie Macht iiber die Zauberinnen, 
ohne diesen Greuel kommt iiberhaupt keine Hexe vor/ 
('Lecherous amours were essential to the later concep- 
tion of Witches. They sealed the pact and conferred on 
the Devil complete power over the sorceress. No Witch 

1 Seligmann, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 335. 

2 Wuttke, op. cit. S. 153. 

3 W. G. Soldan, Geschichte der Hexenprozesse, bearbeitet von H. Heppe, 
1880, Bd. ii. S. 397. 

4 J. Ennemoser, Geschichte der Magie, Zweite Auflage, 1844, S. 844. 


exists who has not passed through this horrible scene.') 
Roskoff 1 says: 'Das spezifische Hexenwesen der eigent- 
lichen Periode der Hexenprozesse beruht nicht mehr 
bloss auf der Abweichung von Glaubens-undLehrsatzen 
der Kirche, sondern, wie aus der Bulle Innozenz VIII 
und dem Hexenhammer ersichtlich ist, lautet die An- 
klage vornehmlich auf: "Biindnis mit dem Teufel und 
vertrautesten Umgang mit demselben." ' (The specific 
nature of Witches in the real period of the Witch trials 
no longer consisted of a mere departure from the doc- 
trines of the Church, but, as is evident from Innocent 
VIII. 's Bull and the Malleus Maleficarum, the principal 
charge was 'Tact with the Devil and the most intimate 
relations with him".') 

There cannot be any doubt that the central feature of 
this bond with the Devil was the sexual relationship. 
Both the older authorities, such as Bodin, 2 De Lancre, 3 
the authors of the Malleus* and the more recent ones, 
are quite unanimous on this point. Thus, to quote only 
a few passages of a kind that could be multiplied almost 
indefinitely, we may cite Freimark 5 : 'Den ersten Anstoss 
zum Teufelsbund gaben fast ausschliesslich sexuelle 
Motive. ... In alien Berichten iiber die Verfiihrung zur 
Hexerei und zum Teufelsbund nimmt unverhullt die 
sexuelle Verfiihrung die erste Stelle an/ (The first 
motive leading to the pact with the Devil was almost ex- 
clusively sexual in nature. ... In all reports on the 
attraction to witchcraft and compounding with the 
Devil sexual temptation frankly takes the first place/) 
Hansen 6 : 'Jede Hexe steht in geschlechtlichem Verkehr 
mit dem Teufel. . . . Gerade durch diesen Verkehr wird 
das dauernde Verhaltnis zwischen Hexe und Teufel un- 
terhalten/ ('Every Witch stood in a sexual relationship 
to the Devil. ... It was precisely through this relation- 

* G. Roskoff, Geschichte des Teufels, 1869, Bd. ii. S. 213. 
8 J. Bodin, De la dtmonomanie des soy der s, 1593, p. 208, etc. 
8 P. de Lancre, Tableau de I'inconstance des mauvais anges et demons, 1612, 
livre iii. disc. v. 

4 Der Hexenhammer, op. cit. Erster Teil, S. 108, etc. 

5 H. Freimark, Okkultismus und Sexualitdt, S. 297. 

6 Hansen, op. cit. S. 481. 

CH. vn WITCHES 201 

ship that the lasting association between the Witch and 
the Devil was maintained/) Bloch 1 : 'Der Begriff des 
Weibes als Hexe drehte sich fast nur um das Geschlecht- 
liche, das meist als "Teufelsbuhlschaft" vorgestellt 
wurde.' (The conception of woman as Witch revolved 
almost exclusively around the sexual theme, pictured 
mostly as licentiousness with the Devil himself.') 
Quanter 2 : 'Die sexuellen Exzesse mit dem Teufel waren 
das einzige, was mit breitem Behagen den Hexen nach- 
gesagt wurde.' ('Sexual excesses with the Devil was the 
sole thing that with general complacency was rumoured 
of Witches.') Nystrom 3 : 'Das Spezifische der Hexen- 
prozesse in ihrer eigentlichen Periode bestand in der 
Beschuldigung der Teufelsbiindelei und des Geschlechts- 
verkehrs mit dem Teufel.' (The specific feature of the 
Witch trials in their proper epoch consisted in the ac- 
cusation of pacts and sexual intercourse with the Devil.') 
It was indeed believed that only after sexual intercourse 
with the Devil did the Witch obtain her magical 
powers. 4 

The notion of unlimited lechery with the Devil is evi- 
dently based on that of unsatisfied lasciviousness, an 
attribute that seems to have been commonly ascribed to 
women in the Middle Ages. As the Devil is the symbolic 
personification of the father, the source of the whole 
idea is plainly derived from unconscious incestuous 
longings, a subject that, as has been already pointed out, 
appears to have acquired special significance in the 
Middle Ages; further evidence in support of this view of 
the matter will presently be adduced. Just as many 
women, the mystics and saints, gratified their desires by 
attaching them to the idea of God, so did others, in a 
grosser way, by attaching them to the equivalent ideas 
of Incubus, Demon or Devil. The difference between 
the two processes is perhaps from this point of view, 

1 Bloch, op. cit. S. 129. 

* R. Quanter, 'Der Hexenglaube des Mitt clatters', Geschlecht und Gesellschaft, 
1910, Bd. v. S. 367. 

8 A. Nystrom, Christentum und freies Denken, 1909, S. 244. 
4 J. J. Ritter von Alpenburg, My then und Sagen Tirols, 1857, S. 256. 


as Maury 1 has well pointed out, less than might 

Considering now the relation of Witch to Devil in a 
little more detail, we may conveniently divide the sub- 
ject into a study of Witches: 

1. At the Sabbath. 

2. On the way to the Sabbath. 

3. At home. 

i. The Sabbath itself has been so vividly described by 
many writers that little need be said about it here. It is 
enough for our present purpose to emphasize the two 
cardinal features: its essentially sexual nature, and the 
parody it constitutes of religious ceremonies. The Sab- 
bath was far from being a disorderly gathering: it con- 
sisted in a series of ceremonies more or less regularly 
carried out. 2 These were, in order: the entrance and pro- 
cession, the acts of homage to Satan, the banquet, the 
Black Mass, the danse du sabbat, and finally the sexual 
orgy in which incestuous acts were performed between 
the nearest possible relatives. 3 The incestuous element is 
thus brought to the foreground both in the last-men- 
tioned fact and through the symbolism of union with the 
Devil. The parody of the Christian rites was complete to 
the last detail and is indignantly commented on by 
most of the older writers. 4 Grimm 5 traces it to the 
envious desire on the part of the Devil to ape God, but 
a fuller explanation of it is that the underlying psycho- 
logical significance of the two sets of ceremonies is in 
many respects identical, though the unconscious com- 
plexes at work are more directly indicated in the case of 
union with the Devil. 

1 L. F. A. Maury, La Magie et I'astrologie, 1860, 2e partie, ch. iii., 'Les 
mystiques rapproches dcs sorciers'. See especially pp. 405, 406, 410, 411. See 
also F. Steingiesser, Das Geschlechtsleben der Heiligen, 1908. 

a J. Michelet, La Sovcitre, 36 Edition, 1863, pp. 147-167. 

8 P. de Lancre, op. cit. p. 223. C. Kiesewetter, Geschichte des Okkultismus, 
Bd. ii. S. 461. 

4 For instance, de Lancre, op. cit. p. 460. 

6 Grimm, op. cit. S. 895. 



The central ceremony of the Black Mass 1 may be 
taken as in the highest degree, symbolic of this union, 
and therefore of the Sabbath itself. In it the youngest 
and most beautiful of the Witches, the Queen of the 
Sabbath, served as an altar, 2 after she had been baptized 
in the Devil's urine and the sign of the cross made back- 
wards with the left hand. As she lay prone the sacred host 
was prepared by kneading on her buttocks a mixture of 
the most repulsive material, faeces, menstrual blood, 
urine, and offal of various kinds; this represented the 
famous modern confarreatio , the food of infamous love. 
We need not here go into the detailed symbolism of the 
proceeding, which would render necessary a discussion 
of the meaning of theophagy, necrophilia and other 
matters that do not directly concern the present theme; 
suffice it to say that this symbolism, as Pfister 3 has 
pointed out in his analytic study of two mystics, is 
throughout a sexual one. 

2. The mode of travel to the Sabbath (Hexenfahrt) was a 
problem that greatly exercised the mediaeval theo- 
logians. It was generally accepted that it was a flight 
through the air, but opinions were divided whether the 
body itself was transported or only the soul. It was ulti- 
mately decided that the former was the true view and 
that the sleeping body left behind was a counterfeit of 
the Devil's, arranged to deceive the husband or relative 
of the absent Witch. The sources of the belief in such 
travels by night are manifold, but they all stand in the 
closest relation to dreams and to sexuality. Even in the 
tenth century Regius von Prum, 4 and in the twelfth 
century John of Salisbury, 5 maintained that the belief 
was an illusion originating in dream experiences, and 

1 Br6vannes, op. cit. pp. 120-135. E. Laurent und P. Nagour, Okkultismus 
und Liebe, Deutsche Ausgabe, 1903, S. 134, 135, 246. 

2 G. W. Cox (The Mythology of the Aryan Nations, 1870, vol. ii. pp. 113-121), 
T. Inman (Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism, 2nd ed., 1874, p. 74), and 
others have pointed out the female symbolism of the altar. The female body 
has at various times been used as an altar, even, it is stated, by the early 
Christians (Brvannes, op. cit. p. 38). 

3 O. Pfister, Die Frommigkeit des Grafen Ludwig von Zinzendorf, 1910, S. 76, 

77 "3- 

4 Quoted by Hansen, op. cit. S. 80. 5 Id. op. cit. S. 134. 


this view was held later by Weier and many other 
writers; it is indeed suggested by the very fact that 
the travel by night almost always took place when 
the woman was in a deep sleep. 1 The correspond- 
ence between the numerous descriptions of the Witches' 
flight and certain types of dreams is so absolute as 
to leave no doubt at all that this is the correct ex- 
planation. 2 It is just as certain that the meaning 
of such dreams is a sexual one, as will presently be 

In the belief in question three fairly distinct ideas are 
concerned, those of travelling, flying and riding re- 
spectively. Psycho-analysis has shown that dreams of 
travelling are almost constantly associated with sexual 
motives, such as exploration of inaccessible places, death 
wishes about hated rivals, escaping with the loved parent 
away from the competing one, 3 and so on; the subject 
has been already dealt with to some extent in previous 
chapters. Flying dreams similarly are individually de- 
termined and symbolize various wishes, but the ultimate 
source of these is always the same, namely, the sexual 
excitation of various movements (dandling, chasing, etc.) 
in early childhood; 4 the phenomenon of erection is in 
both sfexes the kernel of the whole conception of flying. 
In his experimental studies on dreams the Norwegian 
psychologist Hourly Void came to the conclusion that 
dreams in which the dreamer sees either himself or an- 
other flying or floating in the air are produced by gentle 
sexual excitation. The most obviously sexual idea, how- 
ever, is that contained in the symbolism of riding, 

1 Bodin, op. cit. pp. 184, 185. 

2 See Brand, op. cit. vol. iii. p. 9. Freimark, op. cit. S. 310. The resemblance 
was clearly pointed out in the seventeenth century by Oldham (Works, 6th 
ed,, p. 254): 

As men in sleep, though motionless they lie 
Fledg'd by a dream, believe they mount and flye; 
So witches some enchanted wand bestride, 
And think they through the airy regions ride. 

* This has been well illustrated by J. Sadger. Heinrich von Kleist, Eine 
pathographisch-psychologische Studie, 1910, S. Go. 

4 Sigm. Freud, Die Traumdeutung, Dritte Auflage, 1911, S. 201-203. 

CH. vii WITCHES 205 

which in dreams typically represents the act of coitus 
itself. 1 Sometimes this interpretation comes quite openly 
toexpression; thus Delassus 2 quotes the folio wing instance: 
'Martin d' Aries raconte, dans son livre des superstitions, 
qu'une dame tres pieuse se voyait souvent, en songe, 
chevauchant a travers la campagne avec un homme, qui 
abusait d'elle, ce qui lui causait une tres grande volupt6/ 
Similarly Jahns 3 says: 'So kam es vor, dass ehrbare 
Matronen ihren Beichtvatern vertrauten: "sie fiihlten, 
dass sie unwillkiirlich Nachts iiber Feld und Aue ritten; 
ja, wenn sie mit dem Ross iiber ein Wasser setzten, so 
wohne irgend jemand ihnen mit dem vollen Lustgefiihl 
des Aktes bei". Da war denn der offenbare Hexenritt und 
die offenbare Vermischung mit dem Satan eingestan- 
den/ ('It thus happened that respectable matrons ad- 
mitted to their father confessors that "they felt as 
though they had involuntarily ridden by night over field 
and meadow, and that when their steed leaped over any 
water it was like someone having intercourse with them 
in the most voluptuous way". We have before us, there- 
fore, a direct admission of the Witch-ride and union with 

Sometimes Witches turned men into horses for the 
purpose of riding on them to the Sabbath 4 (a typical 
dream inversion), sometimes in company with the Devil, 
who rode in front on a staff while the Witch sat behind. 5 
More often the Devil himself was the steed, in the form 
of either a horse 6 or a he-goat. The latter animal was the 
usual mode of riding, and its well-known lubricity (see 
the passage on goat-symbolism in the preceding chapter) 
made it admirably adapted to express the sexual idea 

1 Compare the expression for night emissions, 'The Witches are riding him'. 
The resemblance between witch-riding and Nightmare was pointed out by 
Burton (op. cit. p. 134) over three hundred years ago: 'and in such as are 
troubled with incubus, or witch-ridden (as we call it); if they lie on their backs, 
they suppose an old woman rides and sits so hard upon them, that they are 
almost stifled for want of breath.' 

8 J. Delassus, Les Incubes et les Succubes, 1897, p. 35. 

8 M. Jahns, Ross und Reiter, 1872, Bd. i. S. 412. 

* F. S. Krauss, Slavische Volksforschungen, 1906, S. 49. 

6 Grimm, op. cit. S. 895. 

8 Der Hexenhammer, op. cit. Zweiter Teil, S. 44. 


thus represented. 1 On some occasions the Witch would 
stick a pole into the goat's back parts on which could be 
carried either her companions 2 or the children 3 she had 
to bring to the Sabbath. Frequently the pole alone, 
usually in the shape of a broomstick, would suffice as a 
steed. Jahns 4 has shown that this was a representative 
of a horse or other carrier (compare the hobby-horse 
series of ideas); the phallic significance is as evident here 
as with the numerous other forms of magic staffs. The 
Polish night-fiend, the Upierzyca, a winged or feathered 
creature, is thus named from the lightness with which 
she can rise in the air like a bird. The idea of human be- 
ings, or the Devil himself, being transformed into ani- 
mals is, as has several times been remarked, eminently 
characteristic of dreams, and in 1230 Guillaume of Paris 
in discussing the Witch question expressly declared that 
it has this origin. 5 

A minor feature in connection with the flight through 
the air that is of some interest was the well-known 
Witch's salve that was necessary for the performance. 
This has to be rubbed well into the body, particularly 
over the abdomen, upper part of the thighs and the feet 
until a warm glow was experienced. 6 It had also to be 
rubbed into the broomstick 7 that conveyed the Witch to 
the Sabbath, and Grimm 8 relates an instance where it 
was rubbed into a calf used for this purpose. The favourite 
materials used in the composition of the ointment seem 
to have been the guts and fat of little babies, 9 murdered 
for the purpose, the blood of a bat, but many other sub- 

1 The goat is the national animal emblem of Wales; in one of the Welsh 
legends a king chases his favourite she-goat over a precipice, and as she falls 
she turns into a beautiful maiden. W. Sikes, British Goblins, 1880, p. 54. 

2 Jahns, op. cit. S. 415. 

G. C. Horst, Zauber-Bibliothek, 1821, Erster Teil, S. 216. 
4 Jahns, op. cit. S. 415, 416. 

6 Quoted by Hansen, op. cit. S. 138. 

8 Grimm, loc. cit. Laurent und Nagour, op. cit. S. 122. J. Wier, Histoives, 
disputes et discours des illusions et impostures des diables, traduction fran9aise, 

1577* P- I( >5. 

7 Hansen, op. cit. S. 449. Wier, loc. cit. 

8 Grimm, loc. cit. 

9 De Lancre, op. cit. pp. 1*2, 119. Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witch- 
craft, 1584, Book iii. p. 40. Wier, loc. cit. 



stances were also used, particularly such drugs as acon- 
ite, hyosyamus, belladonna and opium. The explana- 
tion of this curious device is by no means obvious. De 
Lancre 1 says: 'Le Diable use d'ongaens graisses et 
onctions, pour imiter nostre Seigneur, qui nous a donne 
le sainct sacrement de Babtesme et celuy de la Saincte 
onction.' This, however, leaves unexplained, among 
other things, the special connection between the ideas of 
anointing and flight through the air. 

The act of anointing has in all ages had a peculiar signi- 
ficance, and has generally been connected with the idea 
of conferring special powers on the person king or 
priest anointed; in various religious ceremonies it plays 
a similarly important role. A comparative study of the 
circumstances in which anointing is performed makes it 
highly probable that the act has some sexual symbolism, 
and the intimate relation of it to the Witches' flight and 
the Sabbath strongly confirms this view. Freimark 2 ad- 
duces evidence to show that actual ointments were used 
at various times for the purpose of producing voluptuous 
dreams, and mentions a number of substances with 
aphrodisiac, intoxicating and anaesthetizing properties 
that have been thus employed. Kiesewetter 3 instituted 
experiments on himself to investigate the matter, and 
says he experienced as a result various travelling and 
flying dreams. It is known nowadays that no drugs can 
do this directly, so that the belief in their potency must 
have been an important factor in the effect. It is note- 
worthy that there has always existed a connection be- 
tween the ideas of ointment and easy movement, one no 
doubt fostered by its physical qualities. The very word 
'grease' itself comes from the Latin Gratiae ( = Greek 
Charites who used to wash Aphrodite with oil) and the 
Vedic equivalent of the Charities were the shining steeds 
who drew the chariot of Indra, the sun (=phallos) 4 ; to 
descend from the sublime to the comical, one is reminded 

1 De Lancre, op. cit. p. 212. 2 Freimark, op. cit. S. 306-316. 

8 Kiesewetter, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 579. 

4 Cox, op. cit. vol. i. p. 426; vol. ii. pp. 2, 35. 


of the modern American expression for rapid movement, 
'greased lightning'. The idea of rapid movement was 
very naturally associated with cutaneous sensations, and 
it used to be believed that the magic salve could actually 
change the person's skin into that of an animal famous 
for swiftness. There is the classical story of Pamphile, in 
Apuleius' Golden Ass, using a salve to grow feathers over 
her body until she could fly away as a bird, and in the 
Middle Ages it was similarly used to procure the trans- 
formation into Werewolves and thus endow the person 
with the powers of rapid flight. 1 While all this is so it 
cannot provide the full explanation, for it does not ac- 
count for the deeper sexual symbolism. The evident re- 
lation of mucus and semen to the movements of coitus 
is probably the source of this symbolism, and I have 
shown elsewhere 2 that in early childhood the same associ- 
ation is formed between the ideas of movement and the 
excretory acts (considered as sexual performances). It is 
therefore intelligible that the phallic broomstick on 
which the Witch 'rode' had to be rubbed with ointment, 
and it is likely enough that the same accessory was at 
times employed in the actual gathering of Witches' 
covens where the leader who represented the Devil had 
a fulUnight's work in front of him. 

This view is confirmed by the fact that there existed a 
close connection between the acts of anointing and of 
drinking magical liquids. The Witch, after rubbing in the 
ointment, partook of some magical fluid to enable her to 
travel. 3 Now, as Abraham 4 has shown in detail, magical 
drinks that confer wonderful powers regularly symbolize 
semen: thus the Vedic soma, the Greek ambrosia and 
nectar, the Teutonic odrerir, etc. In the Iliad (xiv. 170) 
Homer relates how the Goddess Hera anoints her whole 
body with ambrosia the scent of which fills heaven and 

1 S. Baring-Gould, The Book of Were-Wolves, 1865, pp. 71, 79, 92. 

2 Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, 1911, Jahrgang i. Jahrbuch fur psycho- 
analytische und psychopathologische Forschungen, 1912, Bd. iv. 

8 Freimark, op. cit. S. 306, 308. Laurent und Nagour, loc. cit. 
4 See Abraham, op. cit. S. 63. 



3. Apart from the Sabbath and the Travel by Night 
the Witch when at home maintained her relations with 
the Devil in several ways. In the first place he, or one of 
his subordinate demons, constantly accompanied her as 
her 'familiar', an idea resembling the totemistic beliefs 
so general in, for instance, Norwegian folklore. 1 The 
familiar was usually a tom-cat: at the meeting of the 
Catharist sect of heretics in the thirteenth century the. 
Devil used to appear as a tom-cat, and the sect has been 
supposed to have received its name from this. 2 Cats have 
played an extensive part in the mythology of female 
supernatural beings. The old German sorceresses used 
on occasion to change themselves into cats. 3 Cats are 
particularly associated with the idea of riding, and indeed 
served at times for this purpose in the Witches' flight. 4 
This belief seems to have been mainly derived from 
Teutonic mythology. Roskoff 5 writes: 'Freyja fahrt auf 
einem mit zwei Katzen bespannten Wagen, den Sym- 
bolen des star ken Zeugungstriebes. . . . Die der Freyja 
geheiligte Katze macht das Mittelalter zum Tiere der 
Hexen und Nachtfrauen/ (Treya travels in a chariot 
spanned with two cats, symbols of a powerful procre- 
ative instinct. . . . The Middle Ages converted Freya's 
sacred cats into the animals of the Witches and Women 
of the Night/) So did the companions of Holda, 6 a proto- 
type of the night demon aspects of the Witches. In 
Southern countries cats were replaced for this purpose 
by their relatives, lions; for instance, the chariot of 
Heracles was drawn by two lions, and so on. Besides this 
symbolic way of accompanying Witches the Devil, as 
will be pointed out later, used at times to appear to them 
in the form of an Incubus. 

The subject, however, that attracted most attention 
in this context was that of possession by the Devil. Graf 7 

1 B. Thorpe, Northern Mythology, 1851, vol. i. p. 115. 

8 Grimm, op. cit. S. 891. Hansen, op. cit. S. 229. 

8 Grimm, op. cit. S. 915. 

4 jSthns, op. cit. S. 415. 5 Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 159. 

6 JSlhns, op. cit. S. 384. 

7 A. Graf, Geschichte des Teufelsglaubens, Deutsche Ausgabe, 1893, S. 137. 



defines this as follows: 'Der Teufel konnte sich damit 
begniigen, den Menschen nur ausserlichzu qualen, indem 
er die Angriffe und Bedrangungen vervielfachte, oder 
auch innerlich peinigen, indem er in ihn einfuhr. Im 
ersten Fall hatte man die eigentliche sogenannte Ob- 
sessio, im zweiten die Possessio.' (The Devil could con- 
tent himself with torturing from without, by multiply- 
ing assaults and afflictions, or he could also torment 
from within, by entering into the person. In the former 
case there is the properly called "obsession'', in the latter 
"possession' ' .) In modern language the difference between 
the two would be indicated by the terms obsessional 
neurosis and hysteria respectively. As might have been 
expected, the latter predominantly affected women. The 
characteristics of demoniacal possession, and the epi- 
demics it has given rise to, are too well known to need 
relating here. 1 As the occurrence is still far from rare 
there has been opportunity of investigating it from a 
clinical point of view, and it has been shown that it may 
constitute a symptom of various mental affections. 2 
Miiller 8 writes: 'Was sich in den Hexenprozessen durch- 
gangig wiederholt, sind Entwicklungskrankheiten der 
Jug^nd oder des Alters bei Weibern, die iiber die kli- 
makterischen Jahre hinaus sind, halb irre Zustande, 
Nervenkrankheiten, die so oft Gegenstand einer aber- 
glaubigen, dem Zeit alter angemessenen Auslegung 
waren, und endlich wirklich Buhlerei, und zwar, wie es 
scheint, oft mit verkappten Personen oder mit bekann- 
ten Personen, in deren Gestalt gerade jetzt einmal der 
Teufel erscheint/ ('What repeatedly took place through- 
out the Witch trials was the occurrence of developmental 
diseases of youth or else climacteric disturbances among 
women, half states of nervous or mental disorder, which 
were often presented in terms of the superstitions of the 

1 See Maury, op. cit. Seconde Partie, ch. ii. 'Origine d6moniaque attribute 
aux maladies nerveuses et mentales', pp. 256-338, and E. Murisier, Les maladies 
du sentiment religieux, 1903, pp. 148-151. 

* A. J. C. Kerner, Geschichten Besessener neuerer Zeit, 1835. J. L. Nevius, 
Demon Possession and Allied Themes , 1894. Ch. Pezet, Contribution a I* etude 
de la Dtmonomanie, 1909. 

8 Johannes Miiller, Vber die phantasti schen Gesichtserscheinungen, 1826, S. 67. 

CH. vii WITCHES 211 

age, and on the other side actual licentiousness, often 
apparently with persons, disguised or known, in whose 
form the Devil was supposed to appear/) Of the various 
disorders the one in which the condition occurs with 
special frequency is hysteria, and in view of our modern 
knowledge concerning the sexual aetiology of hysteria, 1 
including the hysterical attacks which symbolize coitus, 2 
it may be well briefly to quote the evidence of hysteria 
in the demoniacal possession of the Witches. Among the 
hysterical symptoms then observed 3 were: Bulimia, pica, 
anorexia nervosa, vomiting (frequently of foreign bodies, 
such as needles), globus hystericus, pseudocyesis, general 
tremblings and rapid tremors, coitus-like movements, 
mediumistic phenomena, narcolepsy, fainting spells, 
somnambulism, catalepsy, amnesia, 'lying', tedium 
vitae, negativism, double or multiple personality in 
short, all the symptoms that have recently (by Babinski, 
etc.) been declared never to occur except when artificially 
created through the dressage of physicians brought up in 
the Salpetriere traditions. The description of the con- 
vulsive seizures, with all the accompaniments of these, 
shown by the possessed nuns of Louviers 4 tallies in every 
detail with the accounts of hysterical seizures given in 
modern medical text-books; even the term arc en cercle 
is employed. Of especial interest in the light of modern 
knowledge is the fact that exorcism of the patients was 
followed by an outpouring flood of 'disgusting and ob- 
scene' talk, that in other words the treatment consisted 
in a form of abreacting. 

Not only were the symptoms of hysteria present in 
Witches, but also the stigmata. Indeed so constant were 
these that they were relied upon as the most convenient 

1 Sigm. Freud, 'Allgemeines iiber den hysterischen Anfall', Sammlung 
kleiner Schriften zur Neurosenlehre, Zweite Folge, 1909, Kap. vi, S. 146. 
[Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. v. S. 225; Collected Papers, vol. ii, p. 100.] 

2 Sigm. Freud, op. cit. S. 150. [Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. v. S. 259; Collected 
Papers, vol. ii. p. 104.] 

8 Graf, op. cit., S. 153-160. P. L. Jacob, Curiosit6s infernales, pp. 43-65, 90. 
Bodin, de Lancre, Laurent und Nagour, op. cit. S. 116. Wier, etc. 

4 Jean le Breton, De la defense de la verite touchante la possession des reli- 
gieuses de Louviers, 1643. Ese, Traicte des marques des possedes et la preuve de 
la veritable possession des religieuses de Louviers, 1644. 


and certain method of ascertaining whether a given 
woman was or was not a Witch. Reginald Scot 1 writes: 
'If she have any privy mark under her armpit, under her 
hair, under her lip, or in the private parts, it is pre- 
sumption sufficient for the judge to proceed and give 
sentence of Death upon her/ The main test employed 
by the professional 'Witch-finders' was the so-called 
6preuve du stylet for the discovery of anaesthetic areas. 
Sinistrari 2 tells us about the distribution and nature of 
these areas: 'It is imprinted on the most hidden parts of 
the body: with women, it is usually on the breasts or the 
privy parts. Now, the stamp which imprints these marks 
is none other but the Devil's claw/ As is commonly ob- 
served with hysterical stigmata, the anaesthetic areas did 
not bleed when pricked. 3 Freimark 4 has pointed out that 
such marks were also supposed to be characteristic of 
various heretical sects that preceded the full develop- 
ment of the Witch concept. 

The psychological explanation of the phenomena of 
possession is not difficult to psycho-analysts. I will 
merely quote a passage from a non-analytical writer, 
Freimark, 6 who gives the outline of it in the following 
words: Tragen die Phanomene des Somnambulismus 
und "Mediumismus in der Regel nur ihren Entstehungs- 
ursachen nach sexuellen Charakter, so sind diejenigen 
der Besessenheit durch und durch sexueller Natur. . . . 
Das urteilende Ich, das alle nach der bestehenden Gesell- 
schaftsordnung, nach Religion, Moral und dem Milieu, in 
dem es sich entwickelt, als ungehorig betrachteten 
Gefiihle und Vorstellungen unterdriickte, in das Unter- 
bewusstsein zuriickschob, wo sie sozusagen ein eigenes 
Leben fiihrten, wird von dem dort im Laufe der Zeit sich 
ausbildenden Gefiihls- und Vorstellungskomplex iiber- 
rumpelt und die Bewusstseinsspaltung ist vollzogen. 

Reginald Scot, op. cit. p. 15. 

P. Sinistrari, Demoniality (ijth Century), English Translation, 1879, p. 27. 
Santerre, Histoire des diables de Loudun, 1694, p. 318. 
Freimark, op. cit. S. 280. 

Freimark, op. cit. S. 54, 57. 'See also S. 62-69, 353 and Maury, op. cit. 
p. 258. 

CH. vii WITCHES 213 

. . . Einen ahnlichen Vorgang konnen wir im Traumleben 
beobachten; und der Somnambulismus und auch der 
Mediumismus zeigen das, was uns der Traum lehrt, in 
verstarktem Masse/ (' Whereas the phenomena of som- 
nambulism and mediumism generally betray their sexual 
character only in their causative factors, those of pos- 
session are through and through of a sexual nature. . . . 
The controlling Ego, which suppressed all feelings and 
ideas regarded as unseemly by the prevailing social order 
according to religion, morality, and the environment 
in which this has been developed, and which has driven 
them into the subconscious where they so to speak lead 
their own life, was overpowered by the complex of feel- 
ings and ideas that got built up there in the course of 
time, and the splitting of consciousness is then complete. 
. . . We may observe a similar process in dream life; and 
somnambulism and mediumism show in an intensified 
fashion what dreams teach us/) 

* * * * * 

We have now to take up the second problem, namely 
the question of why the Witch epidemic took place just 
when it did. The researches made on this problem in the 
middle of the last century by Ennemoser, 1 Michelet, 2 
Roskoff, 3 Soldan 4 and Wachter 5 have of late years been 
extended and corrected by Hansen, 6 von Hoensbroech, 7 
Langin, 8 Lea, 9 Lempens, 10 Riezler 11 and others, and most 
of the points have now been pretty fully elucidated. The 
three most important conclusions that emerge from these 
investigations are: 

i. That the conception of Witchcraft in its strict sense 

1 Ennemoser, op. cit. Vierte Abschnitt, Zweite Abteilung. 

* Michelet, op. cit. 

Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. Dritter Abschnitt. * Soldan, op. cit. 

5 Wachter, Die Hexenprozesse, ein kulturhistorischer Versuch, 1865. 

6 Hansen, op. cit. and Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des Hexen- 
wahns und der Hexenverfolgung im Mittelalter, 1901. 

7 von Hoensbroech, Das Papsttum in seiner sozialkulturellen Wirksamkeit, 
dritte Auflage, 1901, Bd. i. S. 380-600. 

8 G. Langin, Religion und Hexenprozess, 1888. 

9 H. C. Lea, History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages, 1887. History of 
the Inquisition in Spain, 1907. 

10 Lempens, Geschichte der Hexen und Hexenprozesse, 1880, 

11 S. Riezler, Geschichte der Hexenprozesse in Bayern, 1896. 


was a totally new one in the Middle Ages, and that the 
Witch epidemic proper dates from the middle of the 
fifteenth century; 

2. That the factors cooperative in the production of 
it were extraordinarily involved; and 

3. That the essential responsibility for it unquestion- 
ably rests on the Roman Catholic Church. 

The Church, for various motives, deliberately con- 
structed the belief in Witches, like that in the Devil, out 
of disparate material already present in folklore. Hansen 1 
puts the matter clearly when he says : 'Der Begriff vom 
Hexenwesen . . . ist keineswegs aus dem Spiel der Volks- 
phantasie frei erwachsen, sondern wissenschaf tlich, wenn 
auch in teilweiser Anlehnung an Volksvorstellungen, 
konstruiert und fest umschrieben worden; er ist in seinen 
Elementen durch die systematische Theologie der mittel- 
alterlichen Kirche entwickelt, strafrechtlich in der Ge- 
setzgebung von Kirche und Staat fixiert, schliesslich 
auf dem Wege des kirchlichen und weltlichen Straf- 
prozesses, und zwar zuerst durch die Ketzerinquisition, 
zusammengefasst worden/ (The conception of Witches 
... is in no way a free growth out of the play of popular 
phantasy, but was scientifically constructed and defined, 
although with the help of popular ideas. It was developed 
in its elements by the systematic theology of the Medi- 
aeval Church, legally established in the laws of Church 
and State, and finally built up into a whole by means of 
ecclesiastical and lay criminal trials, first of all by the 
Inquisition of Heretics/) Most of the folk elements of the 
conception were for centuries denied by the Church, who 
only gradually accepted them one by one. As she did so, 
she fused them more and more closely together, until 
early in the fifteenth century a totally new conception 
was formed and officially proclaimed. Hansen 2 says: ' Wie 
bereits angedeutet wurde, erweisen sich die Verfasser 
der literarischen Quellen des 15. Jahrhunderts, welche 
uns jenen Kpllektivbegriff der Hexe definieren, samtlich 
als von der Uberzeugung durchdrungen, dass es sich bei 

1 Hansen, op. cit. Vorwort, S. 6. a Id., op. cit. S. 145. 



der von ihnen geschilderten Art des Hexenwesens um 
eine neue Erscheinung . . . handelt. Die beteiligten In- 
quisitoren zeigen sich geradezu iiberrascht von der Exis- 
tenz dieser neuen Sekte.' ('As has already been indicated, 
the authors of the literary sources of the fifteenth cen- 
tury who have defined for us the collective idea of Witch 
show themselves to be one and all permeated by the con- 
viction that the kind of Witch being they describe was a 
new phenomenon. The Inquisitors concerned were ab- 
solutely surprised at the existence of this new sect/) 
Jiihling 1 just as emphatically observes: 'Es gab freilich 
schon im Altertum den Begriff der Zauberinnen, aber die 
Hexe an und flir sich ist eine Ausgeburt spezifisch christ- 
lichen Aberglaubens/ (The concept of sorceresses had, 
it is true, existed in olden times, but the Witch herself 
is a spawn of specifically Christian superstition/) 

It is impossible here to attempt to unravel what 
Roskoff 2 calls the 'complicated network of multifarious 
threads' that constitutes the Witch belief, but a few 
words may be said about the history of its main features. 
The ideas concerning heresy, relations with the Devil, 
and the Sabbath are mainly, though not exclusively, of 
a religious nature; on the other hand the beliefs in Male- 
ficium, in animal transformation and in the travels 
through the air of night-fiends, which will now be dis- 
cussed, took their source from folk mythology. Male- 
ficium had always been a punishable offence among both 
the ancient Romans and Germans, but not the acts in- 
volved in the Striga or Incubus beliefs. The history of 
the origin of Witchcraft is the story of how the Church 
skilfully and gradually, during the course of two cen- 
turies, developed a new concept and forced it on to a 
whole civilization. The attitude of the early Church was 
entirely opposed to the rudimentary forms of this con- 
cept previously in existence. Lehmann 3 points out: 'Auf 

1 J. Jiihling, Die Inquisition, 1903, S. 299. See also Ennemoser, op. cit. 
S. 780, 781, and Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 214-225. 

* Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 315. 

8 A. Lehmann, Aberglaube und Zauberei, Zweite deutsche Ausg., 1908, S. 105. 
See also J. N. Sepp, Orient und Occident, 1903, S. 140, 150. 


der Synode zu Paderborn 785 stellte man f olgenden Satz 
auf: "Derjenige, welcher, durch den Teufel verblendet, 
nach Art der Heiden glaubt, dass jemand eine Hexe sein 
kann und deshalb dieselbe verbrennt, wird mit dem Tode 
bestraft." Zu dieser Zeit wird also nicht die Hexe, sondern 
der Glaube an dieselbe verfolgt und bestraft. Diese Be- 
stimmung wurde von Karl dem Grossen bestatigt und 
war in den folgenden Jahrhunderten die Richtschnur fur 
die Stellung der Kirche gegeniiber alien Anklagen wegen 
Hexerei. Noch deutlicher tritt die Auffassung der Kirche 
von Hexerei im sogenannten Ancyranischen Kanon 
Episcopi hervor, welche um das Jahr 900 entstand. Hier 
wird den Bischofen befohlen, "in ihren Gemeinden den 
Glauben an die Moglichkeit damonischer Zauberei und 
nachtlicher Fahrten zu und mit Damonen als reine Il- 
lusion energisch zu bekampfen und alle diejenigen, 
welche einem solchen Glauben huldigen, aus der kirch- 
lichen Gemeinschaft auszustossen." ' (The following 
thesis was put forward at the Synod of Paderborn in 
785: Whoever, deceived by the Devil, believes in the fashion 
of the heathen that anyone can be a Witch and burns her on 
this account is to undergo punishment by death. At this 
time, therefore, it was not the Witch, but the belief in 
Witches, that was persecuted and punished. This ordin- 
ance was confirmed by Charlemagne, and was for several 
centuries the principle that guided the Church in respect 
of accusations of Witchcraft. The views of the Church on 
Witchcraft were still more plainly expressed in the so- 
called Canon Episcopi of Ancyra which was composed in 
the ninth century. Here the Bishops were commanded 
''energetically to combat in their dioceses the belief in 
the possibility of demoniacal magic and night journeys 
to or with demons as being pure illusion, and to expel 
from community with the Church all those who cherish 
such beliefs." ') This enlightened Canon (which, inci- 
dentally, was not composed at the Council of Ancyra, its 
actual date being uncertain) goes on to explain how 
dreams can deceive people and give rise to such beliefs; 
it maintains, in fact, the thesis of the present book. Even 



before this the Council of Ireland in 466 had anathema- 
tized Christians who believed they were sorcerers and 
forbade them to be received in the Church until they had 
done penance. 

By the thirteenth century, however, the alarming in- 
crease and power of the heretical sects 1 against the 
Mother Church led the latter, as was pointed out in the 
preceding chapter, to undertake the fiercest measures 
for the suppression of them, and she cleverly enlisted 
the lay arm by fusing the ideas of Witchcraft and heresy. 
The Papal Bull issued by Gregory IX in 1227 became 
the nucleus of the future Inquisition, and later in the 
same century Alexander IV formally declared Witch- 
craft to be one with heresy. The great influence of 
Thomas Aquinas at this time was also thrown in the 
scale and was an important factor in developing the con- 
cept of Witchcraft. 2 Relatively little advance was made 
in this direction after this until the fifteenth century. 

At this point we may pause to consider historically the 
individual elements of the Witch belief in more detail 
and note how one by one they became fused with the 
idea of heresy. The first one to undergo this fate was that 
of Maleficium? and this was the principal one to win 
over the people to the support of the Church in its fight 
against heresy. The popular belief in Maleficium, which 
the Church had always been interested in from the point 
of view of idolatry, became linked with the Devil idea, 4 
and therefore to that of heresy. 5 It was this first element 
that also proved the most lasting one in the whole con- 
stituent series. Hansen 6 says: 'Das Maleficium, mit Aus- 
nahme des Wettermachens, ist ohne alle Unterbrechung 
von der kirchlichen und bis in das 17. Jahrhundert auch 
von der staatlichen Autoritat als Realitat angenommen, 
seine Kraft ist nie ernstlich in Abrede gestellt worden; 
es zieht sich wie ein roter Faden auch durch die Ge- 

1 See Hansen, op. cit. S. 212-216, 232. 

2 Soldan, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 160. 3 See Hansen, op. cit. S. 9-14. 

4 Hansen, op. cit. S. 451. W. Wundt, Vdlker psychologic, Zweiter Band, 
'Mythus und Religion', Zweiter Teil, 1906, S, 400. 
6 Hansen, op. cit. S. 23, 39, 239. 6 Id., op. cit. S. 13. 


schichte der strafrechtlichen Verfolgung.' (Maleficium, 
with the exception of the element in it concerning the belief 
in control over the weather, was continuously accepted 
as reality by the ecclesiastical authorities, and up to the 
seventeenth century also by state authorities. Its power 
was never seriously denied. The theme runs like a red 
thread through the history of criminal persecution/) 

It is impossible to trace here the numerous legends 
relating to women who fly by night 1 since that would take 
us into the realms of mythology, although much con- 
firmatory evidence for our main thesis could be gained 
by so doing; for such beliefs are closely related to Night- 
mare experiences and to the belief in Succubi. It must 
suffice to remark that they evidently played a consider- 
able part in the elaboration of the Witch concept. Con- 
tributions came from the Greek Persephone (=strang- 
ler), 2 the Roman Striga (Italian Strighe, Swiss Strdg- 
geti}? the Teutonic elves, 4 the German Waldfrauen and 
Weisse Frauen (Bertha, Holda 6 ) the descendants of the 
Northern Frigg. It was believed, for instance, that a 
Witch became a Drude when she attained the age of 
forty, 6 while on the other hand a young Drude was 
likely to become an old Witch; 7 according to Grimm, 8 
'Drute ist eins mit Mahre' ('a Drude is identical with 
the night-fiend of the Nightmare 1 ). The Church was for 
many centuries strongly opposed to believing in the pos- 
sibility of night flights. The idea was denied by the 
celebrated Canon Episcopi? it was again denied in 906 
by Regino of Priim, in 1020 by Burkard of Worms, in 
the twelfth century by John of Salisbury, and in 1230 
by Guillaume of Paris. 10 The subject was fiercely con- 
tested in great detail throughout the thirteenth century 11 

1 See Grimm, op. cit. S. 907. Hansen, op. cit. S. 15-18. 
Roskorf, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 136. 
Hansen, op. cit. S. 14. Sepp, op. cit. S. 120, 231. 
Meyer, op. cit. S. 135. 
Graf, op. cit. S. 266, 277. Grimm, op. cit. S. 803-810. Roskoff, op. cit. 


i. S. 157-159. Wuttke, op. cit. S. 29-31, 47. 

Sepp, op. cit. S. 122. 
J.V. r ~ 

Grohmann, Aberglaube und Gebrduche aus Bohmen, 1864, Bd. i. S. 23. 
Grimm, op. cit. S. 1042. e Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 271. 

10 Hansen, op. cit. S. 80, 83-85, 134, 136, ^ Id. t op. cit. S. 191-209. 

CH. vii WITCHES 219 

and the definite belief was not generally accepted by the 
Church authorities until 1450. l It then proved to be of 
decisive importance in firmly establishing the Witch 
delusion, principally through the connection between it 
and the Sabbath; it was indeed the stories of flights 
through the air ascertained by the Inquisition that 
settled the question for the Church and appeared to 
prove finally the identity of heretical meetings and Witch 
Sabbaths. 2 

The allied theme of transformation of human beings 
into animals, similarly a primordial folk phantasy, ex- 
perienced a course parallel to that of the night flight 
idea. Energetically denied at first by the Church, 3 who 
punished believers in it as severely as they did those in 
the flight idea, it was for a time hotly contested 4 and 
finally accepted, though the acceptance was not general 
until I525. 5 

The idea of the Sabbath was elaborated by the Church 
in connection with the naturally secret meetings of 
heretics, who were accused of carrying out at them all 
sorts of orgies and misdeeds just as the early Church 
itself had been in Roman times. 6 The first full account 
of it appears in a Witch-heresy trial at Toulouse in 1335. 7 
It was probably strengthened by the Teutonic legends 
of the wild hunt and wild army. The memory of the 
Roman Bacchanalia 8 and Athenian Cotyttia 9 also no 
doubt played a part: indeed the very word 'Sabbath' in 
relation to Witches has been supposed to be a form, 
altered by Jewish Manichaeans, of the Sabos where 
Bacchus was worshipped, a name derived from o-a/Sd&w 
= to dance. 10 This memory was sustained in the Middle 

1 Hansen, op, cit. S. 33-3<>6, 409, 455-458. 

2 Id., op. cit. S. 235, 238, 

8 Id., op. cit. S. 18, 83-87. 4 Id., op. cit. S. 189, 190. 

6 Id., op. cit. S. 455. 

8 Id., op. cit. S. 21, 226, 227. O. Henne am Rhyn, Der Teufels- und 
Hexenglaube, 1892, S. 68. 

7 E. L. de Lamothe-Langon, Histoire de V inquisition en France, 1829, t. iii. 
p. 233. 8 Freimark, op. cit. S. 279. 

9 F. Hedelin, Des Satyres, brutes, monstres et demons (1627), J 888 ed., p. 124. 

10 Id., op. cit. p. 131. G. Herman, Genesis, Bd. iii. ' Bakchanalien und 
Eleusinien , Zweite Auflage, S. 103. 


Ages by the well-known Feast of Fools, 1 though the 
true origin of this was pre-Christian. * 

The Black Mass, the central point of the Sabbath, is 
of very ancient origin. Sexual union in public has, in 
both ancient 3 and modern 4 semi-religious cults, in both 
civilised 5 and savage 6 nations, been performed as a 
sacred ceremony. We need not trace the history of this, 
nor occupy ourselves here with unravelling the psycho- 
logical meaning of the well-recognized sexual perversion 
that characterizes it. What is noteworthy in the present 
context is that as either an open perversion or a super- 
stition the Black Mass has survived long after the Witch 
epidemic was at an end, 7 i.e. after the delusion of Witch- 
craft had again been resolved into its constituent 
elements, and that it persists even to the present day. 8 

The belief in lustful indulgence between Witch and 
Devil is again a relatively late constituent of the Witch 
delusion. The idea of such intercourse between human 
and supernatural beings was of course always present 
among the people, as has been amply illustrated in 
earlier chapters of this book, but it was for long strenu- 
ously denied by the Church, e.g. in 900 by Burkard. 9 
Until the twelfth century it was quite distinct from 
sorcery, 10 and became connected with it only through the 
linking of the Sabbath idea with heresy, about I250. 11 
It was accepted by Gervasius of Tilbury in the year 
12 14, 12 and by Thomas Aquinas in the same century. 18 
The first instance of it being the accusation at a Witch 
trial was in 1275, when Angela de Labarethe was burned 

1 Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 363. * Bourke, op. cit. ch. iii. pp. 11-23. 

S. Rocco, Sex Mythology, 1898, p. 46. 

W. H. Dixon, Seelenbrdute, Deutsche Ubersetz. 1868, Bd. i. S. 273-278. 
E. Sellon, Annotations on the Sacred Writings of the Hindus, 1902 ed., pp. 



J. Cook, An Account of a Voyage round the World, 1821, vol. ii. p. 127. 
Br^vannes, of. cit. pp. 180-233. Laurent und Nagour, op. cit. S. 137-142. 
G. Legue*, Medecins et empoissonneurs, p. 185. 

8 J. Bois, Le Satanisme et la magie. Cp. the novels by J. K. Huysmans, 
Ld-bas, and R. Schwalb, Chez Satan. 

9 Hansen, op. cit. S. 83. 10 Id., op. cit. S. 19. 
11 Ennemoser, op. cit. S. 791, 845. Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 216. 
11 Hansen, op. cit. S, 142. 

M Soldan, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 181. 

CH. vii WITCHES 221 

for having sexual intercourse with the Devil. 1 Before this 
time the act was not treated as a sin, perhaps because 
of its being thought to occur, if at all, only against the 
will of the victim. 2 It was, however, hard to maintain 
this view in the face of the evident attachment of the 
victims to the Devil, as shown even by nuns. 3 After the 
second half of the thirteenth century the belief belonged, 
as Hansen 4 puts it, to the 'permanent store of theological 

Although the various elements of the Witch concept 
were for the greater part developed by the middle of the 
thirteenth century and were gradually becoming con- 
solidated into a definite system of beliefs, Witch trials 
proceeded rather languidly during the following two 
hundred years. It was, however, only a lull before the 
storm, and this broke out as a true epidemic towards 
the end of the fifteenth century. There were reasons for 
both the delay and for the occasion of the subsequent 
outbreak. In the interval theologians were busily occu- 
pied in discussing and elaborating the general concep- 
tion, which, as was remarked above, was not fused into 
a harmonious whole until the middle of the fifteenth 
century. The method of legal procedure had also to be 
perfected, and the attempt to transfer the necessary 
powers from the lay to the clerical arm met with con- 
siderable opposition. The Civil courts were concerned 
only with Maleficium, and it was not until 1400 that 
they were prepared to recognize fornication with the 
Devil as a criminal charge. 5 Soldan 6 is of opinion that the 
experiences gained in the Crusades exerted a consider- 
able influence in this respect by making the laity familiar 
with Oriental ideas of intercourse between human and 
supernatural beings. 

A factor that cannot easily be over-estimated was the 
sex problem within religion itself, for it was only the 
concentration of the whole Witchcraft idea on women 

1 Lamothe-Langon, op. cit. t. ii. p. 614. a Hansen, op. cit. S. 180. 
a Steingiesser, op. cit. S. 44. 4 Hansen, op. cit. S. 187. 

6 Id., op. cit. S. 396. 8 Soldan, op. cit. Bd. i. S, 179. 


that made it possible for the phobia to be generalized 
among the population at large. Probably all religions, 
and notably the Christian religion, represent solutions 
of the masculine Oedipus complex and are worked out 
by men with this unconscious end in view, the problems 
of women being a secondary matter. We have seen that 
the conflict between son and father is dealt with by 
dividing the figure of the latter into two, God the good 
father and the Devil the bad father. To diminish this 
conflict as far as possible it was important to diminish 
the significance of feminine charms and desires. The one 
thing that would be more intolerable than anything else 
would be indications of sexual desires on the part of 
women, and, as we have repeatedly pointed out, this is 
what fornication with the Devil really represented. It 
is only considerations such as these that render at all 
comprehensible the inhuman and barbaric attitude of 
the Christian Church towards women. What this atti- 
tude, often commented on by modern writers, 1 was in 
earlier days is hard to realize without reading the original 
discussions about women, particularly those that cul- 
minated in the Witchcraft period as represented by De 
Lancre, 2 Bodin, 3 and above all the Malleus Maleficamm* 
The behaviour of the Church in ascribing all manner of 
unworthy traits to women, and even debating whether 
she had a soul at all or was merely a beast, was without 
question due to its degrading attitude towards sexuality 
in general, and was a manifestation of a morbid miso- 
gynous revulsion produced by extreme repression. It is 
likely that this was intensified during the Middle Ages 
by the social conditions then prevailing, the depletion 
of the male population through wars leading to a state 
of widespread jealousy and dissatisfaction among the 
women. The upshot was the turning of fear and hate 
against a certain class of women, against those who were 
either strongly sexual or else filled with hate themselves 

1 See, for instance, Jiihling, op. cit. S. 319, 320. 

2 De Lancre, op. cit. pp. 57, 58. 

8 Bodin, loc. cit. 4 Der Hexenhanmer, op. cit. Erster Teil, S. 92-106. 



from dissatisfaction. The unusual or hysterical women of 
earlier times were magicians, soothsayers, prophetesses: 
in the Middle Ages they became Witches. As Michelet 1 
epigrammatically puts it, 'La Sibylle predisait le sort et 
la Sorciere le fait. C'est la grande, la vraie difference'. 

Towards the end of the fifteenth century two events 
took place that had the result of definitely inaugurating 
the Witch epidemic proper. They were the issuing of the 
famous Papal Bull by Innocent VIII in 1484, and the 
publishing of the Malleus Maleficarum by Sprenger and 
Institoris in 1487. In Innocent's Bull, a document that 
has been stigmatized as a 'product of heir, special stress 
is laid on the two ideas of fornication with the Devil and 
the production of impotence through Maleficium* i.e. 
the two ideas that, for the reasons expounded above, 
were absolutely intolerable and, if taken seriously, must 
infallibly result in an outbreak of savagery. In the 
Malleus these matters, as well as those of flight through 
the air and the Sabbath, are argued to the finest point 
of sophistry, and the rules laid down are of such a nature 
as to prevent the escape from horrible torture or death 
of any woman that might be accused by a spiteful 
neighbour. Without quoting the denunciatory language 
of such writers as Ennemoser, 3 Henne am Rhyn, 4 Mann- 
hardt 5 and Nystrom, 6 one may fairly describe this book 
as unique in the annals of bigotry and cruelty; we note 
it in passing as constituting a landmark of decisive im- 
portance for the subsequent epidemic. It was followed 
in the next hundred and fifty years by a number of 
books in a similar strain, of which the chief were those 
by Bodin, 7 Carpzov, 8 Delrio, 9 Glanvil, 10 King James I, 11 

1 Michelet, op. cit. Introduction, p. ix. 

2 The full text of the Bull is given by Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 222-225. 
Ennemoser, op. cit. S. 812. 

Henne am Rhyn, op. cit. S. 87. 

W. Mannhardt, Zauberglaube und Geheimwissen, Vierte Auflage, 1909, S. 240. 

Nystrom, op. cit. S. 251. 

Bodin, op. cit. 

Benedict Carpzov, Practica nova rerum criminalium, 1635. 

Delrio, Inquisitiones magicae, 1599. 

10 J. Glanvil, Sadducismus triumphatus, 1681. 

11 King James I, Daemonologia, 1615. 


Remigius, 1 and Torreblanca, 2 and even by a newspaper, 
the notorious Hexen- or Druden-Zeitung (in 1627). 

The epidemic was now unloosed that raged irregularly 
over Europe for well-nigh three centuries. The total 
number of victims will never now be known. Voigt's 
well-known estimate of nine and a half millions is cer- 
tainly an over-statement, although Soldan 3 thinks that 
the number ran well into the millions. Nystrom 4 calcu- 
lates that it is greater than that of those killed in all the 
European wars since the beginning of our era [till, of 
course, the recent Great War]. Largely because of the 
activity of the Inquisition directed in this case, it is 
true, more against heretics than against Witches the 
population of Spain fell within two centuries from twenty 
millions to six; one man alone, Torquemada, is said to 
have burned 10,220 in eighteen years and to have con- 
demned 97,371 to the galleys. 5 Nearly every country in 
Europe suffered. Those that came off best were the 
countries under the Greek Church, the Netherlands, and 
with the exception of the frightful Mora explosion in 
1670 Sweden. Even distant America had its minor epi- 
demic. 7 And although the actual extent of the epidemic 
may have been exaggerated by some writers nothing can 
exaggerate the horror of the detailed cruelty, which it 
would be hard to parallel at any age in any other part 
of the world. Sepp 8 truly says: 'Nie haben die Menschen 
blinder gegen einander gewiitet, nie hat die Christ enheit 
sich angesichts aller Welt mehr blamiert als in den 
Hexenprozessen.' (' Never have human beings raged 
more blindly against one another, never has Christianity 
brought more discredit on itself in the face of all the 
world as in the Witch trials/) 

1 Remigius, Daemonolatria, 1595. 2 Torreblanca, Daemonologia, 1615. 

8 Soldan, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 452, 453. 4 Nystrom, op. cit. S. 273. 

5 Nystrom, op. cit. S. 230, 232. 

6 Ennemoser, op. cit. S. 814. Nystrom, op. cit. S. 279-281. 

7 See M. D. Conway, Demonology and Devil-Lore, 1879, vol. ii. pp. 314-317, 
and Howard Williams, The Superstitions of Witchcraft, 1865, p. 264. 

8 Sepp, op. cit. S. 130. See also E. Clodd, Myths and Dreams, 1891, p. 59. 
Hansen, op. cit. S. 3, 5. 0, Stoll, Suggestion und Hypnotismus in der Volkerpsycho- 
logic, Zweite Auflage, 1904, S. 397, 398. 



In seeking an explanation for this extraordinary state 
of affairs the chief point to bear in mind is that it was 
not due to a sudden and incomprehensible aberration of 
the human spirit, as might at first sight appear, but that 
it was entirely congruous with the prevailing views of 
the period. The Witch delusion was 'rationalized 1 to such 
an extent that it quite harmonized with the conceptions 
of the universe then current. 1 Indeed it might well be 
maintained that the most striking feature of such works 
as the Malleus and GlanviFs Sadducism is not the cruelty 
and stupidity so much as the remarkable intellectual 
subtlety with which they defend the most irrational 
theses. The factors entering into the mental state that 
paved the way for the delusion are extraordinarily in- 
volved, 2 but the most important were the abnormal atti- 
tude of the Church towards sexual matters and the 
social condition of the times. The critical period of all in 
the formation of the delusion was the fourteenth cen- 
tury. Of this Gener 3 well says: 'Ce n'est pas un siecle 
normal, c'est un siecle malade. . . . Son histoire est tout 
entiere contenue dans celle de la pathologic. II semble 
qu'il subisse les approches de Tagonie du monde feodal 
et Taurore d'une ere nouvelle. Dans ses souffrances il y 
a quelque chose du rale de la mort et des douleurs de 
Tenfantement. L'egarement de sa raison est celui de la 
sibylle avant la prophetie/ Some of the features were 
mentioned in the preceding chapter, and here we may 
confine our attention to summarizing the cardinal factors 
in the development of the Witch epidemic. Of these un- 
questionably the most important was the deliberate 
machination of the Catholic Church. The three funda- 
mental components of the Witch concept were Male- 
ficium, pact with the Devil, and Heresy, which may be 
described as the Witch's relation to Man, to the Devil 
and to God respectively. The Church's activity consisted 

1 For an excellent presentation of this see Sir Walter Scott, Letters on 
Demonology and Witchcraft (1829), fourth edition, 1898, p. 153. 

a See on this matter Hansen, op. cit. S. 328-331. Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. 

s. 315-359. 

8 P. Gener, La Mort et le D table, 1880, p. 595. 



in exploiting the first of these so as to get the second 
punished with the aim of destroying the third. The al- 
ready present belief in Maleficium was employed to in- 
flame the persecution, the evidences of the Devil pact 
obtained through hysteria and torture were the readiest 
means of securing the victim, while the prime motive 
was the endeavour to stamp out heresy. Once the pro- 
cess was well under way there can be little doubt that it 
served also to excite and gratify certain human tenden- 
cies in their rudest and crudest forms. The two most 
obvious of these were sadism and sexual curiosity. Con- 
cerning the theoretical discussions on Witchcraft, Bloch 1 
says: 'Es gibt keine sexuelle Frage, die nicht von den 
theologischen Kasuisten in subtilster Weise erortet wor- 
den ist, so dass ihre Schriften uns zugleich ein lehrreiches 
Bild der Phantasietatigkeit auf geschlechtlichem Gebiete 
geben/ (There is no sexual question that was not dis- 
cussed in the most subtle way by the theological casuists, 
so that their writings provide us with an instructive 
picture of the functioning of phantasy in the sexual 
sphere/) Jiihling 2 brings out this point even more sharply 
in connection with the lust of the celibate Inquisitors in 
stripping, examining and questioning their victims; chil- 
dren of seven 3 and women of eighty-five 4 were made to 
confess to fornication with the Devil, with all its accom- 
panying details. Further, the whole procedure was, as 
Roskoff 6 has plainly shown, extensively used by indi- 
viduals to wreak their malignity, hatred and envy in 
falsely accusing their rivals or enemies. 

The end of the Witch epidemic needs almost as much 
explanation as its origin, though this has occupied 
students to a far less extent. The history of the wane is 
most fully detailed by Soldan. 6 Holland had the honour 
of being the first country to abolish legal Witch persecu- 

1 Bloch, op. cit. S. 132. 

2 Jiihling, op. cit. S. 321. See also Henne am Rhyn, op. cit. S. 97, and 
Williams, op. cit. p. 215. 

8 Nystrom, op. cit. S. 245. 4 Jiihling, op. cit. S. 323. 

6 Roskoff, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 331-343. 

8 Soldan, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 263-339. gee also Henne am Rhyn, op. cit. S. 



tion, in 1610, Geneva followed in 1632, Sweden in 1649 
and England in 1682. In other countries it lasted much 
longer. The last official execution in England took place 
in 1682, in Scotland in 1697, in France in 1726, in 
Saxony in 1746, in the rest of Germany in 1749, in 
Bavaria in 1775, in Spain in 1781, in Switzerland in 1782 
and in Poland in 1793. The Inquisition itself lasted in 
Spain until 1834, i n Italy until 1859, but the last time it 
had put anyone to death was in 1826. Witches were 
lynched in England in 1751 and in 1863(1), in Germany 
in 1836 and in France in 1850; one was mobbed nearly to 
death in Italy, at Milan, in 1891. In Russia various Witch 
trials, persecutions and mobbings were by no means rare 
at the end of the last century, and the Witch belief is 
still current there. 1 In South America there was a regular 
epidemic between the years 1860 and 1877, a consider- 
able number of Witches being officially burned; one was 
officially burned in Peru as recently as 1888. At the be- 
ginning of the present century two Irish peasants tried 
to roast a Witch on her own fire. [In 1926 two cases 
called public attention to the survival of belief in Witch- 
craft in Western Europe. One was inTipton, in Stafford- 
shire, where two men were summoned for threatening a 
supposed Witch, and a number of witnesses testified 
that they were afraid to go near the woman on account 
of her evil spells. The other was at Bordeaux, near which 
place a certain Abbe Desnoyers, who was believed to 
be none other than Satan himself, was flogged for be- 
witching a Madame Mesmin and other people; he had 
despatched birds whose droppings gave rise to fungi of 
obscene shapes which emitted such appalling odours that 
those who breathed them were smitten with horrible 
diseases. 2 We note here again the characteristic combin- 
ation of anal and sadistic motives to which attention 
was called in the previous chapter. Finally, to bring the 
matter up to date, mention may be made of a case 

1 B. Stern, Geschichte der offentlichen Sittlichkeit in Russland, 1908, Bd. i. 
S. 56, 81-92, Bd. ii. S. 288-290. 
8 [R. Lowe Thompson, The History of the Devil, 1929, p. 154.] 


reported in the Times in the present year of grace, 1930, 
where a Witch and her family were boycotted and 
threatened by their neighbours in Mecklenburg.] 

It is very instructive to note that towards the end of 
the Witch epidemic the delusion once more dissolved 
into its constituent elements and did not fade as a whole. 
The first to disappear was the belief in fornication with 
the Devil and the orgies of the Sabbath, of which rela- 
tively little is heard after 1650. The belief in flight by 
night was the last part of this group to go, and it is 
indeed still held by some people. 1 The Inquisition per- 
secuted heresy long after it had ceased to do so via 
Witchcraft. The most refractory element was its oldest 
one, namely Maleficium, and for more than a century 
little has been heard of any other aspect of Witchcraft. 2 
Officially, however, the Roman Catholic Church still 
holds to every element in the whole conception, from the 
influencing of weather by sorcery to pact with the Devil. 3 

The disappearance of the Witch epidemic is custom- 
arily explained by invoking the change in the view of 
the universe brought about by the rise in science, but 
several considerations made it unlikely that this factor, 
important as it may have been, could have been the only 
one. In the first place, it cannot account for the rapid 
diminution in the Witch belief that took place in the 
second half of the seventeenth century, 4 for the new 
scientific discoveries had by this time penetrated into 
only a small circle. Then these discoveries in physics, 
e.g. by Kepler, Harvey, Newton, etc., concerned mat- 
ters only very indirectly connected with the subject of 
Witchcraft, while it cannot be maintained that a scien- 
tific way of thinking was at that time, or indeed is even 

1 See, for example, W. W. Sikes, British Goblins, 1880, pp. 163, 164. 

2 Wuttke, op. cit. S. 155. 

8 F. A. Gopfert, Moraltheologie, 1897, Bd. i. S. 470. Hagen, Der Teufel im 
Lichte der Glaubensquellen, 1899, S. 8. A. Lehmkuhl, Theologia moralis, 1890, 
Bd. i. Nr. 335, 879. Marc, Institutions morales Alphonsianae, 1893, Bd. i, 
S. 543, J. E. Pruner, Lehrbuch der katholischen Moraltheologie, 1875, S. 263. 
Henne am Rhyn, op. cit. S. 153-157. Soldan, op. cit. S. 340-346. 

4 In England, where I have studied the current opinions in most detail, 
most of the change took place within twenty years. 

CH. vii WITCHES 229 

now, at all generally diffused. The explanation strikes 
me as being altogether too intellectualistic, since both 
the origin and the disappearance of such beliefs as that 
in Witches are predominantly matters of emotion. [This 
scepticism was similarly expressed by an anonymous 
writer in the New Statesman, April 3, 1915: 'Men did not 
cease to believe in witchcraft because the evidence was 
against it, but because they gradually got a vague idea 
that such things did not happen. It is by faith rather 
than by reason that we have come to disbelieve in a 
world of witches. As Lecky has said, "if we considered 
witchcraft probable, a hundredth part of the evidence 
we possess would have placed it beyond the region of 
doubt. 11 '] 

An important clue is perhaps furnished by the fact 
that the Witch delusion crumbled through its most im- 
portant element being eliminated, namely the belief in 
fornication with the Devil, and I would suggest the 
following explanation for this. In the seventeenth cen- 
tury, particularly about the middle of it, there was a 
notable increase in Puritanism, the political manifesta- 
tions of which in all European countries are well known, 
and partly as a development of this and partly as a 
reaction against it the general attitude towards both sex 
and sexuality underwent a very extensive change. 1 In- 
stead of its being loudly declaimed and stamped as a 
dangerous sin it became more and more suppressed as a 
topic of public discussion. A hypocritical compromise 
was reached, still maintained, 2 by which it was allowed 
to exist on condition that people were discreet about it. 
Now this change of attitude was quite inconsistent with 
a continuance of the Witch epidemic, for the Witch 
trials consisted largely of ventilating in great detail the 
most repellent aspects of sexuality. In short, the feeling 

1 The change in the attitude towards sexuality which occurred in the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries has been carefully studied by E. Fuchs in his 
valuable works: Illustrierte Sittengeschichte vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart; 
Renaissance (mit Erganzungsband), 1909; and Die Galante Zeit (mit Ergan- 
zungsband), 1910. 

a [No longer true since the War.] 


gradually increased that the performances of Witches 
were too improper a theme to be dwelt on: such things 
were simply not done. With this elimination of the sexual 
aspects, and its necessary concomitants, the pact with 
the Devil, the Sabbath and the Travel by Night, Witch 
trials became more and more impossible. The Witch 
conception therefore dissolved into its original elements. 

Let us consider the fate of these in order. Intercourse 
with supernatural beings reverted first to folklore, as has 
been expounded in earlier chapters of this book, and 
finally to the sphere of erotic dreams. Heresy continued 
and does so still, but the power of the Church to perse- 
cute it diminished for two reasons. It could no longer be 
combined with the dread of Witchcraft, and then the 
political power of the Catholic Church was so broken 
by the wars of the seventeenth century that in ex- 
haustion the nations had to accept an attitude of greater 
religious tolerance, one which the State has gradually 
forced on the Church in all countries. There remained 
Maleficium, the original form of sorcery. The sting had 
been taken out of this, however, by the waning of the 
idea of feminine incest which had accounted for the 
greater part of the morbid dread. Left to itself Maleficium 
was inadequate to maintain official prosecutions, in 
spite of numerous agitated attempts 1 in this direction, 
and the belief was restored from the field of juris- 
prudence to that of folklore, where it has lingered on in 
an increasingly attenuated guise into our own days. 

The very factor, therefore, namely excessive sexual 
repression, that had made the Witchcraft epidemic 
possible in the first place was, when developed to a more 
intense degree, an important one in destroying its own 
fruit. We are familiar with clinical parallels to this pro- 
cess: many neurotic manifestations of a given stage of 
repression become incompatible with a more intense one, 
the erotic source of them being intolerable, and so dis- 

1 Soldan (op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 263) has remarked that in the period from 1690 
to 1718, so critical in regard to the Witch belief, no fewer than twenty-six 
books were published in its defence, lamenting its decline and the insufficiently 
energetic measures taken against Witches. 



appear. It is possible that an external observer might 
have foretold in the fourteenth century that the Witch- 
craft delusion then being formulated must for intrinsic 
reasons be as self -limited as a fever, carrying with it, 
just as this does, the seeds of its own cure. 
* * * * * 

We come now to the third problem, namely the relation 
of the Witch concept to the experiences of Nightmare. 
There is no direct connection between these experiences 
and the driving force behind the Witch persecutions 
the endeavour to uproot heresy, or between it and the 
folk belief that the Church exploited for its purpose 
the Maleficium of sorcery, although the topics of both 
heresy and sorcery are indirectly related to the ideas 
underlying the Nightmare experiences, i.e. the ideas 
belonging to the incest conflict. It is quite otherwise 
with the third constituent of Witchcraft, the belief in the 
pact with the Devil, which welded them all into a single 
entity and without which the Witch epidemic would 
have been impossible: for this constituent is inherently 
connected at every point with the Nightmare. This con- 
clusion has never been more clearly demonstrated than 
in the remarkable Roman de la Rose published anony- 
mously in 1280, the author being the ecclesiastical Jehan 
de Meung and it is nowadays no longer possible to 
deny. The essentially dream origin of the ideas centering 
around the Night flight has been expounded above in 
detail, and the idea of fornication with the Devil is 
evidently a form of Incubus belief which must have been 
largely determined by the Nightmare experiences so 
common in hysteria; 1 the prevailing theological views 
of the time lent them an appearance of reality, as they 
so often have with other hallucinatory experiences 
(visions, etc.). Miiller 2 says: Ihren sinnlichen Versuchun- 
gen und ihrer Furcht vor dem Versucher, vor dem sinn- 
lichen Teufel kann sie nicht entgehen. In den phan- 

1 On the Nightmare experiences of Witches see Ennemoser, op. cit. S. 869, 
and Wuttke. op. cit. S. 151. 

2 Johannes Muller, op. cit. 


tasiereichen Zustanden des Halbwachens und Traums 
unterliegt sie der sinnlichen Erscheinung dessen, was 
ihre Sinne wiinschen und was die religiose Vorstellung 
fiirchtet. Das Phantasiebild hat fur sie Objektivitat, sie 
kann die Anklage des Teufelsumganges nicht von sich 
ablehnen/ (The "Witch" could not escape the tempta- 
tions of her senses and her fear of the seducer, of the 
sensual Devil. In dreams and when half-awake, mental 
states so rich in phantasy, she was overcome by the 
plastic vision of what her senses craved and what the 
religious teaching dreaded. The phantasy picture was 
for her objective and she could not deny the accusation 
of intercourse with the Devil/) 

The Witch idea is an exteriorization of a woman's un- 
conscious thoughts about herself and her mother, and 
this is one of the reasons why Witches were for the most 
part either very old and ugly or very young and beauti- 
ful. As was pointed out in connection with the Sabbath, 
fornication with the Devil represents an unconscious in- 
cestuous phantasy. 

The resemblances between the beliefs relating to 
Devil, Witch, Incubus and Night-bogey (Alp) are so inti- 
mate that they may be said to present merely different 
aspects of the same theme. Even in fine details the corre- 
spondence is very striking. Thus Witches, just like the 
Devil, the Night-bogey (Alp) and Night-hag (Mahre) 
had a cloven hoof (Drudenfuss) 1 and a hollow back. 2 Ex- 
actly the same amulets knife, horse-shoe, salt, etc. 
were used as protection against Witches, the Devil, and 
the Nightmare. Coitus in all these cases was mostly dis- 
agreeable and devoid of -pleasure. 3 The Night-bogey 
(Alp], just like the Witch, rode on horses and flew like a 
bird, 4 and so on. The Southern Slavs have many beliefs 
connecting the Mara and Witch. 5 Some hold that a Mara 
is a Witch who has rued her evil deeds and decides to 

1 Wuttke, op, cit. S. 155. 

8 Grimm, op. cit. S. 903. Henne am Rliyn, op, cit. S. 38, 68. 

8 Gener, op. cit. p. 524. Henne am Rhyn, op. cit. S. 68. 

4 L. Laistner, Das Rdtsel der Sphinx, 1889, Bd. ii. S. 82, 275. 

5 Krauss, op. cit. S. 147, 148. 

CH. vii WITCHES 233 

confine herself to plaguing men during sleep. Others that 
a Mara is a maiden ripe for marriage who will become a 
Witch after it; in Herzogovina such a Mara is herself the 
daughter of a Witch. 

The connections between the Witch belief and that in 
Vampires and Werewolves are less striking, but many 
indications of them are nevertheless present. The typi- 
cal blood-sucking of the Vampire is rarely met with 
among Witches, but closely allied themes occur. Witches 
were passionately fond of at least drinking blood, parti- 
cularly that of young people; 1 no doubt the main idea 
underlying this is that of sunamitism, 2 i.e. rejuvenation 
through contact with the young, an idea not far re- 
moved from that of the Vampire renewing his life 
through drinking the blood of the living. Milton refers to 
this belief in Paradise Lost (ii. 662): 

Nor uglier follow the Night-hag, when call'd 
In secret riding through the air she comes, 
Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance 
With Lapland witches. . . . 

Five Witches were burned in Lausanne in 1604 for 
having in the guise of wolves set upon a child. They took 
the child to the Devil, who sucked all its blood out 
through the big toe and then boiled the body down to 
obtain materials for the necessary ointment. 3 Witches 
were also addicted to the more harmless habit of milking 
cows, and they could even extract milk from a spindle, 
a hand-towel or the haft of a hatchet; 4 the meaning of 
this will appear when one recollects the unconscious 
equivalency of milk and semen. The German Alp used 
to suck milk as well as blood 5 and, according to Stoll, 6 
the superstition still prevails in Germany that snakes 
suck the milk from cows by night; in Wales it was 

1 J. J. von Goerres, Christliche Mystik, 1842, Bd. iv. S. 2, 216. Krauss, op. 
cit. S. 79. E. H. Meyer, Indogermanische Mythen, 1883, Bd. ii. S. 528. 
Laurent und Nagour, op. cit. S. 208-227. 
Nynauld, De la Lycanthropie, 1615, pp. 50, 52. 
Grimm, op. cit. S. 896, 897. 
Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 61, and Bd. ii. S. 82. 
Stoll, op. cit. S. 215. 


believed that snakes would suck milk from the human 
breast. 1 In Scotland and Wales Witches were even until 
recently believed to transform themselves into hares for 
the purpose of obtaining milk by sucking cows' udders; 2 
in Denmark and Sweden they get it by simply despatch- 
ing hares to the cattle, 3 In mythology hares are synony- 
mous with cats, and the word 'puss* is still used for both 
in the country districts of England; it is therefore intelli- 
gible that hares sometimes function, e.g. in Wales, as the 
'familiars' of Witches 4 in place of the more usual cats. 
Even the revenant nature of the Vampire is indicated in 
the Danish belief that dead people in certain circum- 
stances change into hares. 5 Further curious associations 
are the Russian belief that future Vampires may be re- 
cognized during their life by their having a hare-lip, and 
the East European one that a dead person becomes a 
Vampire if a cat runs over his grave. 6 Still another Vam- 
pire trait is to be found in the Ghoul stories related at 
many trials in which the Witches exhumed and devoured 
the corpses of sorcerers. 7 Just like a Witch, the Dalma- 
tian Koslak, who is actually a Vampire, can predict the 
weather and can travel faster than anyone else. 8 We 
thus see that the Witch belief has endless points of con- 
tact with the phenomena discussed in earlier chapters. 
The same is true of the connection between Witches 
and Werewolves. The persecution and execution of Were- 
wolves in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were 
mainly possible through the prevailing belief in the 
power of Witches to transform themselves into animals. 
They could turn either themselves or others into Were- 
wolves. 9 Of special interest in regard to the association 
already discussed between the ideas of Witch ointment, 

1 J. Rhys, Celtic Folklore, 1901, p. 690. 

2 W. Hertz, Der Werwolf, 1862, S. 113 (several references). 

3 Thorpe, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 192. 

4 C. I. Elton, Origins of English History, 1890, p. 297. 

5 Thorpe, loc. cit. 

W. Mannhardt, Zeitschrift fur deutsche Mythologie, 1856, Jahrg. iv. S. 260. 

7 De Lancre, op. cit. pp. 199, 402. 

8 Krauss, op. cit. S. 125. 

* Der Hexenhammer, op. cit. Erster Teil, S. 155-157. Nynauld, loc. cit. 



night flights and animal-transformation, is the fact that 
this change into a Werewolf was believed to be brought 
about by means of a magic ointment. Thus in 1521 a man 
called Michel Verdun (or Verdung) was burned at Be- 
sancon for turning hiijiself and a companion into Were- 
wolves, 1 and in a Witch trial as late as 1717 the victims 
were accused of turning themselves into Werewolves in 
the same way. 2 The close association between Witches 
and cats was mentioned above, and Grimm 3 refers to the 
ancient sorcery belief that men can be transformed into 
wolves and women into cats, a wolf and cat evidently 
meaning Devil and Witch respectively. A similar associ- 
ation existed between the Mahre, the German precursor 
of Witches, and Werewolves: a seventh child became, if 
a boy, a Werewolf, if a girl, a Mahre* 

We may conclude this chapter with the following 
quotation from Hansen, 5 one of the first authorities 
on the subject: 'Die Hexenverfolgung ist ein kultur- 
geschichtliches Problem, das, wenn es auch als tatsach- 
lich abgeschlossen gelten darf, doch mit unserer Zeit 
noch enger zusammenhangt, als man auf den ersten 
Blick zuzugeben geneigt sein durfte. Die Elemente des 
Wahns, auf denen sie sich aufgebaut hat, werden noch 
heute fast ausnahmslos in den Lehren der geltenden re- 
ligiosen Systeme weitergefiihrt. . . . Von der Verantwor- 
tung fur seine Entstehung wird die Menschheit sich aber 
doch erst dann ganz entlastet fiihlen konnen, wenn sie 
auch den klaglichen, noch nicht iiberwundenen Rest der 
ihm zu Grunde liegenden Wahnvorstellungen ausge- 
schieden haben wird, der trotz aller inneren Haltlosigkeit 
in den herrschenden religiosen Systemen noch heute sein 
Dasein fristet.' ('The persecution of Witches is a problem 
in the history of civilization which, even though it may 
count as being closed in fact, nevertheless has closer con- 
nections with our own time than might at first glance 

1 H. Boguet, Discours des sorciers, 1608, p. 370. S. Leubuscher, Der Wahnsinn, 
1848, S. 68. 

2 Riezler, op. cit. S. 293. 8 Grimm, op. cit. S. 915, 
4 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 354. 

6 J. Hansen, op. cit. Vorwort vii. and S. 538. 


appear. The elements of the delusion on which it was 
founded still to-day continue almost without exception 
in the teachings of the prevailing religious systems. . . . 
Mankind will not be able to feel relieved from the re- 
sponsibility for its occurrence until it has extruded as 
well the miserable relics, still not overcome, of the de- 
lusional ideas at the basis of it, which in spite of their 
being intrinsically untenable still live on in the ruling 
religious systems/) 


IT would seem worth while now to review the charac- 
teristic features common to the five groups of pheno- 
mena considered above. In the first place and this is 
one of the main theses of this book they all represent 
constructions built out of numerous elements which not 
only had an independent existence previously among the 
beliefs of European peoples, but which are still to be 
found to-day in widely separated parts of the world. For 
the fusing of the constituents into a composite belief the 
Christian Church bears in every case the prime responsi- 
bility, in four cases the Roman Catholic and in one the 
Orthodox Greek Church. It is worthy of note that leading 
authorities of the Church had repeatedly, previous to the 
twelfth century, denied the truth of the popular beliefs 
in these constituents, particularly sorcery, lewd inter- 
course with Incubi, transformation of human beings into 
animals, night journeys with demons and witchcraft, 
and they insisted on the dream origin of these beliefs: it 
was reserved for the Middle Ages to plunge into an 
obscurantism that the so-called Dark Ages had rejected. 
The composite beliefs in question endured approxi- 
mately three hundred years; after their course was run 
they did not vanish, but dissolved once more into their 
original elements. Even the fully developed beliefs have 
lasted on among the uneducated portions of society, and 
that this is far from rare may be illustrated by the fact 
that the present writer has personally met with people 
who were as convinced of the truth of these beliefs as 
the general population was in the Middle Ages: belief in 
the constituent elements themselves is far more widely 
spread and may at times be encountered even among 
the educated. During the Middle Ages and later belief in 
these five superstitions tended to assume epidemic pro- 
portions and then gave rise to frightful suffering and an 
outbreak of persecutory mania almost without parallel. 



The five superstitions were closely interwoven to- 
gether, and in many respects even passed over ipto one 
another. The psychological meaning of them is even 
more closely connected than their outward appearance. 
All the elements out of which the five superstitious be- 
liefs were built were projections of unconscious and 
repressed sexual material. In this material two features 
are above all noteworthy, the prominence of incestuous 
wishes and of infantile forms of sexuality. 

The actual formulation of the superstitions after they 
had been fully developed was influenced by a variety of 
factors, principally of a social and religious nature; the 
analysis of them is thus an historical problem. The most 
important were two features in the attitude of the 
Christian Church: the fear and hate it displayed towards 
unorthodox worship, which to it was equivalent to dis- 
obedience against God; and the abnormally exaggerated 
effort it expended in the service of sexual repression, 
particularly in its horror of incest. It cannot be chance 
that these two features, which evoked as savage emotions 
and conduct as human beings are capable of, represent 
the two sides of the fundamental Oedipus complex, 
revolt against the father and sexual love towards the 

The relations the five superstitions bear to the Night- 
mare are especially close. The superstitions themselves 
may psychologically be designated as phobias the latent 
content of which represents repressed incestuous wishes. 
In the intensity of the dread accompanying them they 
are surpassed by no other experience than that of the 
Nightmare and allied anxiety dreams. In many of their 
features they contain a symbolism highly characteristic 
of anxiety dreams. Other features common to both are: 
the sudden transformation of one person into another or 
into some animal; the occurrence of phantastic and im- 
possible animal forms; the alternation of the imagined 
object between extreme attractiveness and the most 
intense disgust; the apparently simultaneous existence 
of the same person in two different places; the idea of 


flying or riding through the air; and the apprehension of 
sexual acts as torturing assaults. The central point of 
the latent content both of the Nightmare and the five 
superstitions here examined is composed of repressed 
incestuous wishes relating to coitus. In four out of the 
five there are also present other sexual wishes, various 
perversions of infantile origin, just as there are with the 
anxiety dreams that do not belong to the classical Night- 
mare type. Nightmares have even shown at times the 
tendency, so prominent with the superstitions, to assume 
epidemic form. 1 The extensive accord obtaining between 
the Nightmare and these superstitions, not only in their 
essential psychological signification but also in many 
points in their manifest structure, makes it probable that 
actual dream experiences were of very considerable im- 
portance in making the elaboration of them possible. 

1 See, for instance, Laurent, cited by Parent, Grand Dictionnaire de Mfdectne, 
t. xxxiv. Art. 'Incubi'. 








"\HE word 'Nightmare' originally meant a 'night- 
fiend'. These night-fiends were held responsible 
for the experiences of terrifying dreams, and the 
word was then used to denote the dreams themselves, so 
that its original meaning is becoming forgotten. Chatter- 
ton could still write: 

Hark! the death-owl loud doth sing 
To the nightmares as they go. 

The word was more particularly used to denote a female 
night-fiend, night-hag, or, as she was also called, a 
'nighte-wytche' . 

The word Nightmare itself comes from the Anglo- 
Saxon neaht or nicht (= night) and mar a (= incubus 
or succubus). The Anglo-Saxon suffix a denotes an 
agent, so that mar a from the verb merran, literally 
means 'a crusher', and the connotation of a crushing 
weight on the breast is common to the corresponding 
words in allied languages (Icelandic mara, Danish mare, 
Low German moore, Polish mora, Bohemian mura, 
Swedish mar a, Old High German mar a}. They are ulti- 
mately derived from an Indo-Germanic root of great 
interest, MR, to which we shall later devote our atten- 
tion. From the earliest times the oppressing agency 
experienced during sleep was personified, more often 
in a female guise; it was depicted as being either 
extremely attractive or else extremely hideous. The 
earliest member of the spirit world of which we have 
any record is this 'oppression fiend' (Dmckgeist) , the 
generic name for which is mar a. Krauss 1 rightly re- 
marks that 'Wenn irgend ein Glaube alien Volkern der 
Erde zu alien Zeiten und unter alien Zonen gemeinsam 

1 F. S. Krauss, Slavische Volkforschungen, 1908, S. 146. 



war und 1st, so 1st es der Marglaube'. ('If ever a belief 
was and is common to all peoples of the earth at all ages 
and in every zone, it is the belief in the Mara/) 

Three hundred years ago the word mare alone was 
commonly used to designate the nightly visitor to whose 
agency was ascribed the terrifying nightmare dreams. 1 
The Teutonic word from which it comes, mar a, is, how- 
ever, quite distinct from the word mare, a female horse. 2 
The latter dates from the Anglo-Saxon mere, the female 
form of mearh, a horse. The same assimilation between 
the two words occurs in Dutch as well as in English, for 
the second half of the Dutch word for Nightmare, i.e. 
Nachtmerrie, also means a mare. 3 Let us pursue a little 
further the history of the word mare = a female horse. 
Jahns 4 cites twelve allied words with a corresponding 
number of feminine forms. Instances are: masculine, Ice- 
landic and Old High German mar, Middle High German 
march, Modern High German Mahr\ feminine, Old 
Norse merr, Finnish mar a, Middle High German 
meriche and mare, Modern High German Mar he. 
The last-named word is nowadays written incorrectly 
Mdhre. It may be mentioned that Vignoli 5 went so far 
as to derive the word mar a of our Nightmare from an 
Old High German word mar = horse, thus making the 
idea of horse the primary one in the whole group of 
Nightmare sagas to a quite unjustifiable extent. The 
root from which the word mare is derived is thought to 
be of Keltic origin, being recorded as such by Pausanias, 
and the word is cognate with the Irish marc and Welsh 
march = horse. 

In both German and English these words vejy early 

1 See Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft, ed. 1665, p. 85. 

2 It is true that Grimm, in his Deutsche Mythologie (46 Ausg. S. 1041), though 
not in his later Worterbuch, expresses the opinion that the latter word is derived 
directly from the former, which if true would at once clinch the argument of 
Part III. of this book, but the generally received opinion is as I have stated it 
in the text. 

3 W. W. Skeat, An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, 1910, 
p. 401. 

4 M. Jahns, Ross und Reiter in Leben und Sprache, Glauben und Geschichte 
der Deutschen, 1872, Bd. i, S. 12, 13. 

6 T. Vignoli, Myth and Science, 1882, p. 77. 


obtained a predominantly feminine signification, very 
likely because of its similarity to the other word mara 
= night-hag, and in both, more completely so in Eng- 
lish, the corresponding masculine form has now fallen 
into disuse. In fact, this feminine signification is so strong 
that in various countries the word has been used to de- 
note several other female creatures; for instance, in 
Breton march means a cow. Jahns 1 gives this fact as the 
explanation of the flavour of contempt 2 that the word 
has acquired in German, for till late in the Middle Ages 
only the male horse was considered to be noble, the 
female passing as common. There is an old folk riddle in 
German that relates to this: 'Welcher Kaiser hat die 
schlechtesten Pferde? Der von Osterreich, denn er hat 
Mahren!' ('Which Emperor has the worst horses? The 
Emperor of Austria, for he has Moravia i.e. mares! 1 ) 
The masculine word of the same root actually came to 
signify in German a bad or decayed horse ('ein schlechtes, 
heruntergekommenes Pferd'), and it is still used in this 
sense in the Upper Adige district of South Tirol in the 
form march. Since the ninth century the word Mahre 
( = mare) has been used in German to designate a harlot, 
a lecherous woman or occasionally an ugly old 
woman; current examples of this are the Bavarian 
march, the Carinthian merche, and the Low German 

The present point of interest is this. It might readily 
be supposed that the assimilation of the second half of 
the word Nightmare to the English word for a female 
horse, a mare, is a matter of no special significance. But 
psycho-analysis has with right become suspicious of 
manifestations of the human spirit that are easily dis- 
carded as meaningless, and in the present case our sus- 
picions are strengthened when we learn that in other 
countries the ideas of night-hag and female horse are 
closely associated, although there is not the linguistic 

1 jahns, op. cit. S. 13, 14. 

2 Compare the stress laid by Alfred Adler on the importance that contempt 
for feminine traits has in the development of the psychoneuroses, Zentralblatt 

fur Psychoanalyse, 1911, Jahrg. i. S. 20 and elsewhere. 


justification for it that exists in English. Forestalling the 
discussion that will presently follow, I would maintain 
the thesis that there are in the human mind deep reasons 
why the two ideas in question naturally become associ- 
ated, and that the linguistic assimilation in English of 
the two words is a simple consequence of this psycho- 
logical fact. The matter seems to me worth pursuing for 
two reasons. If we find, as we shall, that various folk be- 
liefs about the mare are closely parallel to those about 
the Nightmare, and further that the former have the 
same underlying meaning as we have attributed to the 
latter, then we shall have obtained a corroboration of no 
small value of the truth of our general conclusions re- 
garding the significance of the Nightmare and the part 
it has played in affecting human beliefs. In the second 
place, the evolution of the words denoting these two 
ideas should prove an interesting study in semantics in 
general and perhaps yield some conclusions of interest 
to the science of etymology. 

Our present theme, therefore, is the association be- 
tween human beings and animals in the imagination. 
The general" psychological implications of this theme I 
have discussed elsewhere 1 at some length and need only 
repeat at this point the conclusions there reached. The 
most important for our present purposes are that the 
ideas unconsciously represented by the presence of an 
animal in a dream, neurotic symptom, myth or other 
product of the imagination are always derived from 
thoughts about a human being, so that the animal 
simply stands for this human being; that the human be- 
ing in question is in most cases specifically a parent; and 
that the ideas thus represented belong to the group of 
repressed wishes and fears that centre around infantile 
sexuality. In a word, therefore, the presence of an animal 
in such contexts always denotes the action of an incest 
complex. We shall now choose a particular example of 
this interchangeability, namely that of human beings 
into horses, and note the threads that connect such an 

1 Part II. pp. 63, 64. 


idea with those we have already studied when consider- 
ing the part played by Nightmares in folklore and 

I had originally intended to divide into two groups 
the material now to be presented, which should illustrate 
respectively the associations on the one hand between 
the ideas of mare and female fiend and those between 
horse and male fiend. This proved to be impossible for a 
reason which is in itself instructive. The sexes simply re- 
fused to be separated so neatly as this classification 
would pretend. Exactly as in anxiety dreams, the sex 
and the sexual attitude both of the dreamer and of the 
supposed nightly visitor are extraordinarily interchange- 
able, so to separate the material in the logical manner 
I had proposed would have been to do violence to the 
facts themselves. One cannot lay too much emphasis on 
the fact that sex inversion plays a highly characteristic 
and most important part, not only in anxiety dreams, 
but in all the products of the imagination derived from 
them or influenced by them. 



IN the human imagination of all ages horses have been 
extensively connected with ideas of the supernatural. 
Not only evil demons and lecherous visitors of the 
night, but Divine beings themselves have frequently 
assumed an equine guise, and, as elsewhere, the ideas 
relating to good and evil supernatural beings pass in- 
sensibly into one another. In Hindu mythology it is 
taught that the first horse was created as a by-product 
when the gods and demons were jointly churning the 
Ocean of Milk to extract nectar from it. 

There is also no sharp difference of sex in these various 
associations, but a study of extensive material inclines 
me to the conclusion that the female connotations are 
more often associated with the terrifying and the erotic, 
while the noble and divine connotations have more often 
male associations; it should be observed that these two 
statements are not counterparts. 

Though we shall have to range somewhat beyond it, 
our particular concern is with the identification of 
mara with mare, and we may therefore begin with 
some remarks on the frequency with which the ideas of 
woman and mare have been brought together in the 
imagination. Jahns, 1 in giving many examples of this, 
writes: 'Ganz eigentiimlich und beispiellos ist die innige 
Zusammenstellung von Pferd und Frau in Dichtung, 
Spruchweisheit und Redensart. . . . Diese Zusammen- 
stellung von Frau und Pferd ist uralt/ ('Quite peculiar 
and without example is the intimate juxtaposition of 
horse and woman in poetry, proverbial wisdom and say- 
ings. . . . This juxtaposition is primeval/) Among the 
proverbs he quotes to illustrate this are the following: 

1 M. Jahns, Ross und Reiter in Leben und Sprache, Glauben und Geschichte 
der Deutschen, Bd. i. 1872, S. 77. 



'Dein Weib, dein Pferd, dein Schwert leih nicht her!' 
('Lend not thy wife, thy horse, thy sword. 1 ) 'SeinemGaule 
und seinem Weibe soil man nie den Ziigel schieszen 
lassen!' ('One should never give a free rein to one's steed 
or one's wife.') Treien ist wie Pferdekauf; Freier tu' die 
Augen auf!' ('Courting is like buying a horse; suitor, keep 
your eyes open.') He calls attention to the specially fre- 
quent analogy between horse and rider on the one hand 
and a married couple on the other. In many countries 
the ideas of bride and horse are brought together. 1 'In 
Preussen sagt man: "Kommt der Braut igam zur Hoch- 
zeit geritten, so lose man ihm gleich nach dem Absteigen 
den Sattelgurt, 2 das sichert seiner klinftigen Frau eine 
leichte Entbindung". Bei den hannoverschen Wenden 
werden vor der Wohnung des jungen Paares die Rosse 
vom Hochzeitswagen abgcspannt und die Braut muss 
den Wagen in vollem Laufen vor dem Hause vorbei 
ziehen. Tut sie das recht geschickt und ohne anzu- 
stossen, so wird's auch wenig Anstoss in der Ehe geben.' 
('They say in Prussia: "If the bridegroom comes on 
horseback to the wedding one should loosen the saddle- 
girth 2 as soon as he dismounts, for this ensures his future 

1 jahns, op. cit. S. 377. 

2 This symbolic equating of the horse's saddle-girth and harness with the 
human vulva is commonly met with in folklore. Von Diiringsfeld (quoted by 
H. Freimark, Okkultismus und Sexualitat, S. 409) relates: 'In einigen Gegcnden 
Skandinaviens nimmt die Braut dem Pferde, auf dem sic zur Trauung reitet, 
vor der Kirche den Zaum ab und lost ihm die Sattclgurte, um ein leichtes 
Kindbett zu haben. Sie errcicht diesen Zweck auch, weim sie durch ein Pferde- 
geschirr kriecht, aber dann wird nach dem Volksglauben das Kind ein Alp/ 
('In some districts of Scandinavia the bride takes the reins off the horse on 
which she has ridden to the wedding in front of the church and loosens his 
saddle-girth so as to have an easy childbirth. She achieves this purpose also 
if she creeps through a horse's collar, but then, according to popular belief, 
the child will be a night-bogey/) An allied symbolism has given rise to a large 
number of practices of creeping through holes to avoid witchcraft, bad luck 
or illness. Some of these are quoted by S. Seligmann (Der Bose Blick und 
Verwandtes, 1910, Bd. i. S. 327-328): e.g., 'in Ostfriesland lasst man ein Kind, 
das unaufhorlich schreit, durch ein Pferdehalfter kriechen*. ('In East Frisia 
one makes a child that continually cries creep through a horse's halter'), a 
custom still in force also in the south of England. To cure impotence a man 
drinks wine that has been poured through his wedding-ring, and so on. An 
almost equally large number of beliefs maintain the exact contrary of this, 
asserting that to creep through a hole, e.g., to walk under a ladder, brings bad 
luck. Common to both sets, of course, is the conviction that the act in question 
is of magical significance. (For details concerning the symbolic significance of the 
girdle see O. Stoll, Das Geschlechtsleben in der Volkerpsychologie, 1908, S. 475-483.) 


wife an easy childbirth". Among the Wends of Hanover 
the horses of the wedding carriage are taken out of the 
traces in front of the young couple's house and the bride 
has to pull the carriage past the house. If she does this 
skilfully and without running into anything 1 there will 
be little friction in the marriage/) An old Devon legend, 
an account of which was published in 1683, tells of a 
female ghost who appears as a mare, 2 whence Tom 
Pearce's grey mare of the popular ballad. In one of 
Boccaccio's stories (Ninth day, Tenth story) a woman is 
by magic turned into a mare. In the Middle Ages in 
France it was believed that the souls of priests' con- 
cubines were after their death changed into black mares 
(les juments au diable) and had carnal intercourse with 
the Devil. 3 

The interchangeability of woman and mare is thus to 
be found in the most diverse fields, in literature, folk- 
lore, superstition, and so on. The following examples 
from the higher mythology will illustrate also the inter- 
changeability of the sexes here, a feature on which we 
often have occasion to remark. The god Loki, in order to 
cheat the giant out of Freija, turned himself into a mare 
and by neighing beguiled away the giant's chief stand- 
by, his stallion Svadilfari, by whom he conceived Odin's 
famous horse Sleipnir. Among the Ancient Kelts the 
worship was prevalent of Epona, a goddess in the form 
of a mare, the patroness of horses. 4 In the Icelandic Song 
of Hildebrand a brown horse saves an unhappy lady 
from her husband on the condition that she is not to 
speak while he carries her, and then turns into a hand- 
some prince, 5 

If, now, one studies the various associations to the 
idea of 'horse' in mythology and folklore it becomes 
plain that the two attributes of the horse that have 

1 There is here a play on the word Anstoss, to run into, to take offence at. 

2 S. Baring-Gould, Devonshire Characters and Strange Events, 1906, p. 171. 
8 P. S6billot, Le Folk-lore de France, 1906, t. iii. ' La faune et la flore', p. 149. 
4 E. Anwyl, Celtic Religion, 1906, pp. 30, 31. 

6 See a rather similar story in L. Laistner, Das Rdtsel der Sphinx, 1889, 
Bd. ii. S. 101. 


especially caught the imagination are (i) his strong, 
swift movement, and (2) his magnificent shining appear- 
ance. In a subsequent chapter I shall consider the psy- 
chological significance of these attributes and the under- 
lying connection between them. In many spheres, e.g., 
in sun worship, it is hardly possible to distinguish 
between them. 

The high significance that the idea of movement has in 
this connection is brought out in the following quota- 
tion from Jahns 1 : 'Es sind in der vorliegenden Liste 
dreiundsechzig verschiedene,selbststdndige deutscheNamen 
des Pferdes aufgefiihrt worden, ganz abgesehn von der 
Fulle lokaler oder historischer Variant en. Dreiund- 
zwanzig diser Benennungen, und unter ihnen die aller- 
hervorragendsten, sind von der Bewegung abstrahirt, 
einundzwanzig sind Geschlechtsbezeichnungen, zehn 
beziehn sich auf Jugend oder Kleinheit des Pferdes, zwei 
kniipf en an sein Gewiher an und sieben endlich an andere 
besondere Eigenschaften.' ('In the preceding list sixty - 
three different and independent German names for a horse 
are given, quite apart from the mass of local or historical 
variants. Twenty-three of these designations, and among 
them the most prominent, relate to movement, twenty- 
one denote the sex of the animal, ten refer to the youth 
or smallness of the horse, two have to do with neighing, 
and finally seven refer to special attributes/) In other 
words, fifteen times as many expressions for a horse (in 
German) are derived from the idea of movement as 
from any other single attribute except its sexedness. 
Examples of the names derived from the idea of move- 
ment are Pferd (cognate with the English palfrey), 
Ross (English horse), Hengst and Mahre (English 
mare) itself; this last is distantly cognate with the 
French marcher, to walk, the Scottish merk, to ride, 
the Wallachian merg, to go (from which the Wallachian 
murghe = horse), and the English to march. 

Consideration of movement in connection with a horse 
brings us at once to the idea of riding. The very word 

1 Jahns, op. cit. S. 39. 


'ride' originally meant simply movement in general, 1 a 
trace of which movement is retained in such expressions 
as 'to ride in a train, carriage, etc/ Now in every lan- 
guage riding is one of the commonest euphemisms for 
coitus, the analogy in position and movement be- 
tween rider and horse and man and woman being 
sufficiently evident. Nocturnal emissions are known as 
'witch-riding', and in German are indicated by the ex- 
pression 'es reiten ihn Hexen' ('witches are riding him'), 
a substitute for the older expression 'dich hat geriten 
der Mar' 2 ('the night-fiend has ridden you') from which 
we get the corresponding English phrase of 'mare-riding'. 
In German a tfian lacking in virility is called a 'Sonn- 
tagsreiter' ('Sunday rider') or a 'Bauerreiter' ('peasant 
rider'), 3 and a name for the honeymoon is 'Stutenwoche' 
('mare week'). In his section on 'Reiten als Bezeichnung 
der Begattung' ('Riding as a designation for coitus') 
Jahns 4 writes: 'Das Mittelalter liebte der Art Vergleiche 
ganz auszerordentlich und konnte sich nicht satt horen 
an hiehergehorigen Anecdoten und Zotchen. Unmoglich 
konnen wir dise Ankniipfungen hier naher verfolgen 
wollen; einige Andeutungen mogen genugen, namentlich 
unter Hinzuftigung der Versicherung, dasz dis Feld 
reichlich bebaut ist. . . . Doch genug! Auf disem Gebiete 
taugt keine Theorie; da sehe jeder selbst zu.' ('The 
Middle Ages was quite extraordinarily fond of this par- 
ticular comparison and was never tired of listening to 
anecdotes and bawdy jokes on it. It is impossible for us 
to pursue this association indefinitely; a few illustrations 
must suffice, especially if we assure the reader that this 
ground is richly sown. . . . But enough! In this field no 
theory is of use. Everyone can see for himself.') A 
classical example of the same symbolism is to be found 
in Voltaire's La Pucelle (Chant XIII) in the scene where 
the English soldier attempts to rape Joan, a passage 
which some critics have thought to be borrowed from a 

1 Jahns, op. cit, S. 150. 

2 J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 40 Ausg., 1877, Bd. iii. S. 372. 
8 Jahns, op. cit. S. 156-157. 4 Id., op. cit. S. 229-230. 


similar one in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, where the 
prince discovers the dwarf in bed with his wife. Then 
there is the well-known passage from Chaucer; 1 

... In principle, 
Mulier est hominis confusio. 
(Madame, the sentence of this Latyn is, 
Womman is mannes joy and mannes blis.) 
For when I fiele a-night your softe syde, 
Al be it that I may not on you ride, 
For that your perche is made so narrow, alias! 
I am so ful of joy and of solas, 
That I defye both vision and dreme. 

When such an analogy is so striking as to force itself 
into literature and conversation one may be sure that its 
widespread use in the unconscious is even more firmly 
established, as is well known to every psycho-analyst. 
We may therefore expect to find many indications in 
mythology of the nightly visitor being associated with 
riding. Already in the Ynglingasaga we are told of King 
Vanlandi in Upsala being trodden to death by a mara. 2 
The idea of treading or trampling is akin to that of riding, 
and indeed the French word for nightmare, cauchemar* 
is derived from the Latin calcar ( = a spur, from calx* a 
heel) and mar? the equivalents in Italian (pesaruole) 
and Spanish (pesadilla] come from pesar = press, 
weigh on. 6 In the Volsunga saga Swanhild is trampled to 
death by horses as a punishment, an appropriate 'talion' 
one, for having sexual intercourse with her bridegroom's 
son. 7 

1 Canterbury Tales, 'Nonne Prestes Tale'. 

2 B. Thorpe, Northern Mythology, 1851, vol. ii. p. 19. 

8 Collin de Plancy (Dictionnaire infernal, 1818, t. i. p. 105) relates the dis- 
cussion in the Middle Ages as to the nature of this. Delrio decided that it was 
an imp of Beelzebub, called 'le dmon d^puccleur'. 

4 It is perhaps not chance that this word was chosen, for there are many 
connections between the ideas of stone (calx) and horse. From calx comes the 
Scottish ca/& =- horse's spur, and also calculate, a mythical attribute oi 
horses. The close relation of horse, stone and mountain will be noted below, 
and Keltologists have explained the first syllable of the frequently met with 
'Pferdeberge' as coming from the Gaelic per (Latin petra, French pierre)', the 
Christian representative of the Pferdegott (Horse-God) Psychopomp Odin is 
called Peter (petrus). 

5 L. F. A. Maury, La Magie et I'astrologie, 1860, p. 254. 

6 Grimm, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 384. 

7 G. W. Cox, The Mythology of the Aryan Nations, 1870, vol. i, p. 284. 


After what has been said earlier about the significance 
of animals in the unconscious it is not surprising to learn 
that in legends in which the theme of riding occurs we 
often meet also with that of metamorphosis. The visitor 
appears, now as a human being, now as a horse, and one 
may change directly into the other. This interchange is 
all the more easily effected in that horse and rider are 
often identified as one in the imagination. Jahns 1 lays 
emphasis on this point in a special section devoted to it, 
where he states categorically 'Ross und Reiter sind ein 
Doppelwesen' ('Steed and rider constitute a double 
being'). The matter is, however, still further complicated 
by the fact that either the visitor or the visited may be 
conceived of as the rider and that this role may be inter- 
changed. Moreover, the belief is widely held that when a 
horse is attacked by sweating and shivering, resembling 
an anxiety attack, it is because it has had a nightly 
visitor in the form of a mara, 2 so that the night-fiend 
may visit a horse in the form of a human being, or a 
human being in the form of a horse; it is plain that these 
'anxiety attacks' of the horse are equated to nocturnal 
emissions accompanied by fear, for the same explana- 
tion is given of both. I shall quote two tales that illus- 
trate several points in this group of beliefs: the first is 
from Denmark, the second from North Germany. There 
was once in Jutland a queen who was a great lover of 
horses; she had one in particular to which she was most 
attached, and which occupied her thoughts both waking 
and dreaming. It frequently happened, when the groom 
entered the stable at night, that he found this horse out 
of order, and thence concluded that it had been ridden 
by the Mara. Taking, therefore, a bucket of cold water, 
he cast it over the horse, and at the same moment saw 
that the queen was sitting on its back/ 3 'In Usedom 
there once lived a man, who had a horse that had always 

1 Jahns, op. cit. S. 162. 

1 W. Golther, Handbuch der germanischen Mythologie, 1895, S. 117. Grimm, 
op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 880. Krainz, cited by Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 172. Laistner, 
op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 82. 

* Thorpe, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 170. 


been vigorous and in good condition, but at once became 
meagre and lost strength; and notwithstanding that it 
was well fed, never could recover. This appeared very 
singular to the owner, and he thought the matter over 
and over, but could not satisfy himself. At length he sent 
for a cunning man, who, on seeing the horse, said that 
he would soon find a remedy. He remained there that 
night, and at midnight went to the stable, stopt a knot- 
hole in the door, then fetched the owner of the horse, 
and they both entered the stable. To his great astonish- 
ment he there saw a woman of his acquaintance sitting 
on the horse, and, although she strove with all her 
might, unable to descend from it. It was the Horse- 
mare that was so caught. She besought them most 
earnestly to set her free, which they did, but only after 
she had promised never to repeat her visits/ 1 This 
latter story is repeated in a Brandenburg saga from 
Mellentin, 2 with the interesting addition that the 
woman found on the horse the next morning was the 
prettiest girl in the village: it is one more example of 
the extraordinary way in which ugly old women and 
beautiful damsels constantly change places in all Night- 
mare themes. 

We have repeatedly seen that the terror of the nightly 
visitor, i.e. of the Nightmare, is literally a deadly fear, 
i.e. it is amongst other things a fear of being done to 
death, castration and death being, as we know, closely 
allied ideas. This is as much as to say that night-fiends 
and death fiends are beings that cannot be sharply dis- 
tinguished. The same conclusion is true in connection 
with horses. Horses can be 'ridden' to death by a death 
fiend just as they can be exhausted by a mara. The 
deathly ride may take place in the stable or the horse 
may be carried away to participate in the 'wild hunt' we 
shall presently have to discuss. 3 Sometimes this simple 
idea has become displaced, or rather replaced, on to 
human beings. Thus in the Frickthal it is believed that 

1 Thorpe, op. cit, vol. iii. pp. 75-76. 
8 jahns, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 413. * Laistner, loc. cit. 


the sweating of a horse in its stable betokens an early 
death in the neighbourhood. 1 

Many Teutonic legends date from the old belief that 
the goddess Hel used to throw herself upon sleeping men 
in the form of a horse. 2 Hel was later identified with 
Death. In times of pestilence she rides on a three-legged 
horse and strangles people; when a sickness rages it was 
said that 'Hel is going about', or when in the night the 
dogs howled, 'Hel is among the dogs'. In Denmark in 
former days a living horse was interred in every church- 
yard before any human corpse was buried in it. This 
horse re-appears and is known by the name of the "Hel- 
horse' V It has only three legs, and if anyone meets it, it 
forebodes death. Hence is derived the saying when any- 
one has survived a dangerous illness: 'He gave death a 
peck of oats' (as an offering or bribe). 3 

Returning now to the idea of the Nightmare visitor 
to a human being assuming the guise of a horse or mare 
we may consider the following evidence. Jahn 4 says: 'als 
Schimmel hockt die Mahrte auf in Pommern' ('in Pom- 
erania the Mara plays high cockalorum in a horse's 
guise), and Montanus 5 gives us a vivid picture of the 
performance: 'an der untern Wupper dringt die Mahrte 
in Rossgestalt durch die Schliissellocher in Schlafkam- 
mern, legt die Vorderhufe auf des Schlafers Brust und 
starrt ihn mit gliihenden Augen auf beangstigende 
Weise an' ('in the lower Wuppenau (in Switzerland) the 
mara penetrates through the key-hole into the bed- 
chamber in the guise of a steed, lays her fore-hoofs on 
the sleeper's breast, and with glowing eyes stares at him 
in the most alarming fashion') , a description which might 
well have been written in reference to one of the versions 
of the frontispiece by Fuseli in the present volume. There 
are many versions related of the following story with the 
typical metamorphosis theme. 'Eine Mullerin bei Bam- 

1 B. Stern, Medizin, Aberglaube und Geschlechtsleben in der Turkei, 1903, 
Bd. i. S. 420. 

a jahns, op. cit. S. 411. 8 Thorpe, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 209. 

4 U. Jahn, cited by Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 172. 

6 Montanus, Vorzeit, 2e Ausg. Bd, i. S. 128, cited by Laistner, loc. cit. 


berg trachtete ihren Knecht zu verfiihren; da es ihr nicht 
gelang, wollte sie ihn miirbe machen. Nachts kam sie als 
Ross zur Kammer herein, warf sich auf ihn und nahm 
ihm alle Kraft. Auf den Rat eines Monches warf er der 
Mahr, als sie wieder in Rossgestalt kam, einen bereitge- 
haltenen Zaum uber und liess das Ross beim Schmied 
beschlagen, am andern Morgen stand die Mtillerin blu- 
tend an Handen und Fiissen im Stalle. 1 In Oldenburg; 
ein Grossknecht wacht eines Nachts auf, und wie er 
einen grossen Schimmel vor seinem Bette sieht, springt 
er ihm auf den Riicken, reitet ihn nach der Schmiede und 
lasst ihn beschlagen. Des andern Morgens liegt die Frau 
krank; sie hat liber Nacht etwas an die Fusse gekriegt/ 2 
('A miller's wife at Bamberg wanted to seduce her 
servant. Not succeeding in this, however, she determined 
to break his spirit. She came by night to his room in the 
form of a horse, threw herself on to him and robbed him 
of all his strength. On a monk's advice he got ready a 
bridle and threw it over the Mara on her next visit. 
Having thus caught the horse he got the smith to shoe 
her, and on the next morning there stood the miller's 
wife in the stable with her hands and feet all bleeding. 
In Oldenburg a foreman woke up one night and, seeing 
a large horse by his bed, sprang on its back, rode it to the 
smith and got it shod. The next morning the mistress 
was laid up, having injured her feet in the night/) 
Krauss 3 tells of a man who was frightfully plagued by a 
Mara until one night, during her visit, a friend saw a 
white hair moving up and down over the man's body. 
He cut it off and in this way cured the patient, but next 
morning the patient's horse was found dead in the stable: 
the Mara was no other than the horse. This last story is 
evidently an inversion of the other; both contain themes, 
such as shoeing, hair, bridle, the rich mythological impli- 
cations of which we cannot pursue here. Another variant 
of the story is that in which two grooms slept together, 

1 A. Schoppner, Sagenbuch der Bayerischen Lande, 1853, Bd. iii. S. 293. 

2 L. Strackerjan, cited by Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 172. 
8 F. S. Krauss, Slavische Volkforschungen, 1908, S. 152. 



one of whom was troubled by a Walriderske: she used to 
put a halter on him, thus turning him into a horse, and 
then ride on him the whole night in the most exhausting 
way. The companion watched, and one night as she came 
he seized the halter, threw it over her, turning her 
into a mare, and galloped on her to the smith to have 
her shod. Next morning the lady of the house lay ill in 
bed and had horseshoes on her feet. 1 This story is paral- 
leled by one related by Erasmus Franzisci, 2 where, how- 
ever, the nightly ride was to a witches' sabbath, and in 
wHich it was the sufferer himself who carried out the 

Riding naturally leads to another aspect of the 'move- 
ment' theme, namely the innumerable beliefs to do with 
travel or flight by night. This connects also with the last 
subject of metamorphosis, since it is highly probable that 
both take their origin in dream experiences. It is gener- 
ally agreed that the various beliefs about flight by night 
are derived from the familiar 'flying dream' experiences. 
Jahns 3 writes: 'Die nachtfarenden Weiber treten also in 
zwei verschiedenen Hauptformen auf: entweder als 
Nachtmare, die als rossegestaltete Damonen zum 
driickenden Alb oder noch haufiger zum Trager desTrau- 
menden werden, oder als Nachtreiterinen, welche dann 
selbst, als Aufsizende, schlafende Menschen oder schlum- 
mernde Rosse reiten.' ('Women who fly by night 4 appear 
in two distinct main forms: either as night maras who as 
demons in the guise of horses become an oppressive 
bogey or, still oftener, carry the sleeper, or else as night- 
riders who then themselves ride on sleeping people or 
sleeping horses/) We note again here the feature with 
which we became familiar above of the interchange- 
ability of the ideas of 'riding on' and 'being ridden by'. 
Even in the sixteenth century the notorious 'witches' 
flight' was recognized (e.g., by Wierusin hisDe Praestigiis 

1 Strackerjan, quoted by Laistner, loc. cit. A very similar story may be 
found in a Slavonic witch legend, Krauss, op. cit. S. 52-53. 
* Quoted by Jahns, op. cit. S. 413. 
8 Uhns, op. cit. S. 411. 
4 Incidentally, a Cockney euphemism for prostitutes. 


Daemonorum) as arising in a dream illusion, an opinion 
poetically handled by Oldham. 1 

We have seen that in mythology it is impossible 
sharply to separate the stories of riding from those of be- 
ing ridden on. With the corresponding dreams, although 
the two themes are often interwoven, one may say that 
on the whole the former, typified in the familiar flying 
dream, is apt to be pleasurable, while the latter, more 
characteristic of the Nightmare itself, is nearly always 
unpleasant. But when one studies the latent content and 
dream sources of the two one finds a close similarity. 
Both of these kinds of dream represent a sexual act, 
usually conceived of in infantile and often sadistic- 
masochistic terms. It is thus comprehensible that the 
myths derived from them should be intimately related 
to each other, and also that the theme should be regu- 
larly connected with that of animal metamorphosis. 

Night-fiends ride not only on horses, but also on any 
abbreviated representative of a horse. According to 
Grimm, 2 the oldest account of this is given by Guilielmus 
Alvernus, who describes them riding on reeds and rushes 
which turned into a live horse. He mentions also the 
Irish saga where rushes and blades of grass become 
horses as soon as the mara mounts them, and gives a 
number of similar examples. The Roman Strigas them- 
selves rode on broomsticks. 3 As is well known, the later 
witches' ride could be performed on a great variety of 
objects, notably pitchforks, cart-shafts and broomsticks, 
as well as on living objects such as horses, cats, goats, 
etc. When more than one witch had to be carried the 
companion, less refined than our modern pillion riders, 
rode on a pole stuck into the goat's hindquarters. 4 The 
name of the Horselberg itself, the favourite rendezvous 
of witches, and doubtless earlier for their predecessors 
the night-hags, is said to be derived from 'Horsa', a 
horse. 6 The modern ride on a broomstick is our chil- 

1 See Part II. p. 204. * Grimm, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 907. 

3 J. N. Sepp, Orient und Occident, 1903, S. 231. 

* jahns, op. cit. S. 415. 6 Id., op. cit. S. 417. 


dren's 'hobby-horse', which we shall meet again later, 
and when one remembers the psychological significance 
of collecting manias the metaphor 'to ride his hobby to 
death' is seen to be not such a distant relative of the old 
Night-flight on a magic staff as might at first sight 

That animal-worship in general is a part of phallic re- 
ligion has often been pointed out, 1 and that the male 
horse is mythologically to be regarded as a phallic animal 
is also widely recognized. 2 Our psycho-analyses 3 fully 
explain this by disclosing how significant for the im- 
agination of children is this big aggressive animal, with 
his habit of biting and trampling; the earliest impression 
of sexual acts may date from witnessing the copulation 
of stallion and mare. 4 It is evident, therefore, that the 
magic staff, broomstick, etc., must be symbols of the 
most essential attribute of this phallic animal. 

I propose now to mention one special example of this 
phallic significance because of the light it throws on the 
theme under consideration, namely, the significance of 

We have insensibly glided from the theme mara = 
mare to that of the horse as a phallic animal, but this 
illustrates the remarkable interchangeability of the 
sexes in this whole group of myths. Female night-fiends 
ride on horses, become horses, acquire masculine attri- 
butes, and so on. The same is equally true of their de- 
scendants, the mediaeval witches. The explanation of this 
state of affairs is that the forbidden wishes that furnish 
the driving force behind all thes6 beliefs and myths are 
the repressed sexual desires of incest, and one of the 
most characteristic defences against the becoming con- 

1 See, for instance, C. Howard, Sex Worship, 1897. J. Wier, Religion and 

2 See Aigremont, Fuss- und Schuh-Symbolik und -Erotik, 1909, S. 17. R. P, 
Knight, The Symbolical Language of Ancient Art, 1876, pp. 76-78. 

8 See, for instance, Freud, 'Die Analyse der Phobie eines ftinfjahrigen 
Knaben'. Psychoanalytisches Jahrbuch, Bd. i. S. i, [Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. 
viii. S. 127; Collected Papers, vol. iii. p. 149.] 

4 A. A. Brill, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, vol. v. p. 62, relates a striking 
instance of the part played by this observation in the development of a later 


scious of such desires is to repudiate them and conceal 
them through the mechanism of identification with the , 
opposite sex. Hitherto we have been specially concerned 
with the female aspect of the relation between horses 
and human beings, but in order to understand the full 
meaning of it, and particularly to unravel the signifi- 
cance of the idea of movement in this connection, it will 
be necessary to consider other aspects as well. 

The subject of Night Travel naturally leads us to those 
of the Night Hunt, the Wild Hunt, and the Furious 
Host. We have here to do with a large group of folk be- 
liefs which group round the idea of a storm at night, and 
which mythologists have often explained as being simply 
the product of this experience. Although it is true, how- 
ever, that stormy nights are associated with fear, it is 
not hard to show that the reason for this is that the con- 
ception of a storm is in the unconscious identified with 
other ideas which are the real source of the fears. We have, 
in fact, to do with much grimmer ideas even than that 
of a storm, with ideas that more nearly concern human 
interests, namely, ideas of death and castration. The 
connection between this group of beliefs and the experi- 
ence of the Nightmare is most simply revealed by the 
considerations that the Babylonian demon of the storm, 
the alu, had the custom of spreading himself over a man, 
overpowering him upon his bed and attacking his breast; 1 
that the Hindu demons of the Nightmare, the alii and 
maruts, were gods of the storm; 2 and that the Greek 
name for the Nightmare, the term used by physicians 
until a century ago, was Ephialtes, which also meant 
'hurricane'. 3 

The association between storm and danger at night is 
thus widely spread, but the most extensive data we have 
in connection with it are to be obtained from Northern 

1 T. G. Pinches, The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, 1906, p. 108. 

* Max Miiller, Physical Religion, 1891, p. 311. Eickmann, Die Angelologie 
des Korans, 1908, S. 48. 

8 Cox, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 254. W. H. Roscher, Ephialtes, eine patho- 
logisch-mythologische Abhandlung iiber die Alptrdume und Alpddmonen des 
klassischen Altertums, 1900. 


Europe. Here its highest development took place as a 
part of the cult of Odin, so that it will be desirable first 
to interpolate a few words on those aspects of Odin that 
concern us here; further information can be obtained 
from the writings of Grimm, Meyer and others. The 
belief in Wotan (Odin) is itself probably secondary to 
that in the Furious Host, 1 with which it is through- 
out intimately connected. The very name is related to: 
(A) the Old High German wuot, wildness, bacchant ic 
pleasure, 2 and has thus come to signify 'the all-pene- 
trating Being'. 3 'Das althochdeutsche: wuoti bezeich- 
nete namlich nicht wie unser heutiges Wort Wut eine 
onmachtige Leidenschaft, sondern jedes unwidersteh- 
liche Vorwartsdringen, zunachst in der Welt der Korper, 
dann aber auch in der des Geistes.' 4 (The Old High 
German wuoti denoted, not as with the modern 
German word Wut an irresistible passion, but every 
kind of irresistible pressing forwards, in the first place 
in the world of material objects, then in that of the 
spirit/) (B) The still more ancient Old High German 
watan, meaning to go, to gush out, from which wuot 
itself is derived as well as wind? weather* the German 
Wade (calf of the leg), and the Bavarian Wuetelri* (to 
move, to swarm). From the same source come the old 
words for horse, Watte and Wos, and Jahns maintains 
that originally Wotan himself must have been conceived 
of in horse's form. 8 However this may be, he seems to 
have been almost inseparable from his famous white 
steed Sleipnir, and he may well be called the Horse-God 
par excellence] horses were sacred in his cult, a feature 
that generally means original identification, and were 
sacrificed to him. 9 His relations to death, to war, to 
wind, and to love were also very close. Many of his 
attributes were very evidently taken from the primitive 
conception of a stern and powerful father. Thus, his 

1 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 413. 2 Id., op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 411. 

3 Grimm, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 109. 4 Jahns, op. cit. S. 292. 

6 Grimm, op. cit. Bd. iii. S. 49. 6 Id., loc. cit. 

7 Jahns, loc. cit. 8 Id., op. cit. S 292, 347-348. 
9 A. Wuttke, Der deutsche Volksaberglaube der Gegenwart, 1900, S. 17. 


capacity for outbursts of anger, 1 his custom of being 
seated in heaven from which he can look down on earth 
and see everything that happens there, 2 his all-embracing 
knowledge, his powers of magic. 3 He is 'Alprunen- 
kundig' 4 (versed in the magic formulas to ward off the 
Nightmare), and indeed this title is supposed to spring 
from an original identification of Wot an with the Alp. 5 
He was the ancestor of many distinguished families, and 
the genealogical tree of the Anglo-Saxon kings and the 
Norse regents begin with Wotan, 6 an ancestry claimed 
even by Henry II of England. 7 His cult was especially 
developed in England, under the name of Odin, he being 
the Father of the English race. Kent was said to have 
been founded by Hengist and Horsa (i.e. Stallion and 
Horse), descendants of Odin; 8 Margate, one of its chief 
towns and supposedly the place of entry, derives its 
name from Marhe, from war=horse, and the county 
itself still bears on its coat-of-arms the emblem of a 
stallion rampant. 

The close association between Odin atid the ideas of 
horse and father, both of which indicate virility, would 
lead one to expect other sexual attributes in him, and in 
fact we find many, both manifest and symbolic. Meyer 9 
writes naively: 'Die Werbungen Odins um eine Jung- 
frau, die er in allerlei Umgestaltung und mit Trug auszu- 
fiihren pflegt, entsprechen dem gestaltwechselnden und 
luster nen Wesen der Winde. Der Riesin Rindr stellt er 
in verschiedenen Gestalten nach. . . . Zweimal wird er 
von ihr, die einer abweisenden Riesin des Wirbelwinds 
oder der Wetterwolke gleicht, ins Gesicht geschlagen, 
zum dritten Mai sogar zu Boden gestossen, bis er sie 
durch Beriihrung mit den Runenstab wahnsinnig macht, 
d.h. den Wirbelwind zum tollsten Treiben bringt, dann 
aber fesseln lasst und als heilkundige Dienerin Vecha 

1 Grimm, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 114, 120. 2 Id., op. cit. Bd. i. S. 113. 

3 E. Mogk, Germanische Mythologie, 1906, S. 45. 

4 E. H. Meyer, Germanische Mythologie, 1891, S. 233. 

6 Th. Puschmann, Handbuch der Geschichte der Medizin, 1902, Bd. i. S. 460, 

e Mogk, op. cit. S. 52, 7 Meyer, op. cit. S. 234. 

8 jahns, op. cit. S. 424. 9 Meyer, op. cit. S. 248. 


bewaltigt. Beider Sohn 1st Bous genannt/ ('Odin's 
courtships of a virgin, which he used to perform with 
guile and in all sorts of disguises, correspond to the 
changeful and wanton nature of the winds. He pursued 
the giantess Rindr in various guises. . . . Twice she 
slapped him in the face, as would an unrelenting giantess 
of the cyclone or of the storm-cloud. On the third occa- 
sion she even struck him to the ground, until he mad- 
dened her by touching her with his magic staff (!), i.e. 
brought the cyclone to the highest pitch of furious 
excitement; he then bound her and overpowered her. 
She became a priestess, called Vecha, with magic power 
in matters of health. Their son was named Bous/) Since 
this passage was written, however, it has been recognized 
that the human imagination is more concerned with 
other loves than with those of the winds. As we have 
repeatedly seen, the capacity for transformation is pre- 
dominantly an erotic motif. It was highly developed 
with Odin, as indeed is indicated by his by-names of 
Fjolnir, the many-guised one, and Svipall, the seducer 
in disguise. 1 There is a characteristic story telling how he 
obtained the famous drink Odrerir, the mead of life; 
incidentally, Abraham 2 has clearly demonstrated the 
seminal symbolism of the various divine drinks, Odrerir, 
Soma, Ambrosia, Nectar, etc. This life-sap belonged to 
a giant and was kept in a mountain (!) by his daughter 
Gunnlod. Odin, in the suitable form of a snake, slipped 
into the mountain through a hole, won Gunnlod's love, 
and ever after enjoyed the mead of life. 3 He was in 
general the god of fertility, and many agricultural 
customs of the present day date from his cult. 4 They 
usually relate to his aspects as a wind-god, which we 
shall have occasion to comment on from this point of 
view in a subsequent chapter. 

The best-remembered attribute of Odin's is that of his 
leading the nightly procession of riding souls. This is 

1 Mogk, op. cit. S. 44. 

2 Karl Abraham, Traum und Mythus. (Schriften zur angewandten Seelen- 
kunde, Viertes Heft, 1909, Cap. xi.) 8 Mogk, op. cit. S. 46, 47. 

4 Meyer, op. cit. S. 254-256. Wuttke, op. cit. S. 17. 


represented sometimes as an army, sometimes as a hunt; 
the former was more prominent in South Germany, the 
latter in North Germany. The underlying idea is doubt- 
less that of death, Odin being the Psychopomp who 
bears away the soul. The original fear, as was pointed 
out earlier, 1 must have been that of being killed, i.e. 
castrated, by the dreaded nightly visitor, and every 
effort was made to convert this into less unacceptable 
terms. The conception of the deadly visitor as an enemy 
was softened in various ways. Either he was a chieftain 
whose army one joined, in which conception Teutonic 
races used to go to war under the leadership of Wotan 
and carrying a serpent-like pennon. Or the idea of death 
was sexualized, usually on rather sadistic lines; if the 
fearing person was a man this would be tantamount to 
the well-known homosexual solution of enmity. Perhaps 
one ought to call this a re-sexualizing of the situation, 
for the original sexual wish that led to the fear of re- 
taliatory castration or death reappears in a perverse 
form. Death has always been pictured as being due to a 
spirit who violently and against one's will robs one of 
life. 2 Cognate to our present theme is the fact that he is 
usually personified as riding on a horse. 3 Even the old 
Charon appears on horseback in modern Greek songs; 4 
and among the people in Hungary the common name 
for the funeral stretcher is 'Michael lova', Michael's 
horse, while it is said of someone lying near to death: 
'St. Michael's horse has already trodden on him'. 5 

In this function Odin's method of obtaining his vic- 
tims was by thrusting a spear into them 6 or by throwing 

1 Part III. p. 255. 

2 I abstain here from opening up the vast subject of night-fiends who predict 
or bring about death, unless they are directly connected with the present theme 
of horse = fiend. In this country perhaps the best known would be the Gaelic 
fershee (feminine banshee): see P. W. Joyce, A Social History of Ancient 
Ireland, 1903, p. 265. 

* Jahns (op. cit. S. 407) narrates some interesting legends of death being 
connected with a horse's skull, e.g., by a snake crawling out from it, that we 
have no space here to detail. 

4 G. Roskoff, Geschichte des Teufels, 1869, Bd. i. S. 163. 

5 Ipolyi, Zeitschrift fur Mythologie, Bd. ii. S. 274. 

Mogk, op. cit. S. 50. 


a horse's leg at, them; 1 we may safely regard these 
weapons as phallic symbols, especially as we still meet 
with them in this sense in the interpretation of dreams. 
Odin's spear Gungnir was in later myths replaced by a 
bow and arrow, 2 just like that of Eros-Cupid, and it is 
interesting to note, as Laistner 3 pointed out, that origin- 
ally the conception of Eros was closely allied to that of 
Hermes, of whom, as we shall presently see, Wot an was 
the Northern equivalent. The chief English legendary 
descendant of Odin, Robin Hood, the 'King of the May 1 , 4 
whose name 'Hood' is derived from that of Wotan, 5 is 
also famous for his bow and arrow and rides round the 
(phallic) May-pole. Finally in this connection it may be 
pointed out that the idea of Wunsch (cognate with 
Wonne), the Teutonic god of love, who personified the 
outpouring, creative power, was derived from that of 
Odin, of whom he represented one aspect. 6 

Both as psychopomp and as wind-god Wotan is 
evidently related to Mercury and Hermes, 7 with whom 
Latin and other writers constantly identified him; 8 in- 
deed the identification is preserved to the present day, 
for the English name for Wotan's day, i.e. Wednesday, 
is in French merer edi, i.e. jour de Mereure. From a close 
study of its detailed characteristics Laistner 9 has been 
able to trace the idea of the psychopompic bearing away 
of souls to the 'angstvolle Traumfahrt' (the dreadful 
dream travel or flight) , and there can be little doubt that 
this experience is the chief source of all the various 
'night travels', of which this is only one example. In 
accord with this conclusion is the fact that Hermes was 
the God of Dreams 10 and, according to Homer, slips 

1 jahns, op. cit. S. 326. The phallic symbolism of the thigh has been pointed 
out by, among others, Aigremont, op. cit. S. 23. 

2 Meyer, op. cit. S. 251. 3 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 210. 

4 J. Brand, Observations on the Popular Antiquities of Great Britain, 1849, 
vol. i. p. 261. 

8 Meyer, op. cit. S. 230, 231. 

6 Grimm, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 114-118, Bd. iii. S. 50-55. 

7 It is interesting that the title Hermes should be cognate with the Hindu 
Saranyu ( = horse). G. W. Cox, op. cit. vol. i. p. 423. 

8 Grimm, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 99, in, 124. Meyer, op. cit. S. 229. 

Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 225. 10 ld. t op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 210. 


through a keyhole in the characteristic Mara fashion. 
Laistner 1 indeed calls the closely allied Eros the Greek 
'Nachtalp' ('night bogey'), as Pan was their Tagalp' 
('day bogey'). 

The most usual way in which this procession of scurry- 
ing souls was conceived of was as a Wild Hunt. This hunt 
was most often a pursuit after either an animal or a 
woman, 2 less often after a man; in some of them the 
woman when caught turned into a horse and was ridden 
on. 3 The chase after a mythical woman has been pre- 
served in a great number of legends and sagas. Grimm 4 
points out here the mythological connection between 
the ideas of huntsman and giant, i.e. father, and Laistner 5 
has traced the pursued woman of the sagas to the mara 
herself, thus showing again how interchangeable are the 
roles of pursuing and pursued. Odin's wild hunt gave 
rise to a whole series of legendary huntsmen, 6 some real, 
some fictitious, of which perhaps the best known are 
Hackelberg (or, better, Hackelberend) , Ruprecht, Die- 
trich von Bern and 'der alte Fritz' in Germany, Hellequin, 
King Hugo, and Charlemagne or simply Le Grand 
Veneur de Fontainebleau in France, King Waldemar in 
Denmark, Asgard in Norway, King Arthur (Arthur's 
chase), and Herne the Hunter of Windsor not to men- 
tion the late lamented John Peel in England, Ap Nudd 7 
in Wales; the Wandering Jew legend itself is said to be 
related to it. 8 In Christian times various saints, 9 notably 
St. Hubert, St. Martin, St. Michael and St. Nicholas, 
have been endowed with certain attributes of Odin, 
above all with his function of leading the nightly pro- 
cession, and many customs dating from this are still kept 
up in several European countries; to some extent this 

1 Laistner, loc. cit. 2 Meyer, op. cit. S. 244-248. 

3 Id., op. cit. S. 247. 4 Grimm, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 791. 

5 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 240. 

6 Grimm, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 767-789. Meyer, op. cit. S. 237. Thorpe, op. cit. 
vol. ii. pp. 195-201. 

7 It has been thought that the name of London is derived from this King 
of the Fairies (C. Squire, The Mythology of the British Islands, 1905, pp. 255, 
3?6, 392). 

8 jahns, op. cit. S. 327. Meyer, op. cit. S. 237. 

9 Jahns, op. cit. S. 299-332. Meyer, op. cit. S. 256-257. 


even applies to the persons of Christ and John the 
Baptist. 1 The tenacity with which the people have clung 
to these beliefs, so that the Church was compelled to 
compromise in regard to them, proves the significance 
that the underlying motives concerned must possess for 
the imagination. 

An interesting heathen form of the procession in 
England was the 'hobby-horse' which was paraded at 
the time of Odin's festivals, i.e. at Christmas and on the 
first of May. 2 The root hob (Middle English and Old 
French hobin = horse) is a variant of Rob, from the 
French Robin. 3 In proper names in English an initial R 
is often replaced by H, cp. Hodge for Roger: similarly R 
is often replaced by D, as in Dick for Richard, hence the 
name Dobbin, the favourite modern name for a horse. 
The hobgoblin Puck (Welsh Pwca) was also called Robin 
Goodfellow, as in Shakespeare. Robin in turn is an 
abbreviation of Robert, a Prankish name from the 
Old High German Ruodperht 4 (Modern High German 
-berht, English bright}. We shall presently see that this 
epithet was frequently applied to steeds, and indeed 
Jahns 5 connects the allied words hobble and hop 
(German hupfen] with the old German word for horse, 
Hoppe, which is cognate with the Greek tWo? and has 
the connotation of movement. In the root hobby, there- 
fore, are contained indications of the two fundamental 
attributes of horses that have been significant for the 
myth-making imagination, their appearance and their 
movement. At the time of Odin's festivals, Christmas 
and the first of May, the hobby-horse used to be ridden 
by Odin's lineal descendant, Robin Hood, whose very 
name signifies 'Odin's swift, shining steed'. It seems a 
far cry from the Father of Heaven to a hobby-horse; a 
quaint recrudescence of the original meaning appears in 
the modern French word for hobby-horse, first used 

1 Jahns, op. cit. S. 299, 317. a Brand, op. cit. vol. i. pp. 473, 492. 

8 Sir J. A. H. Murray, A New English Dictionary, 1901, vol. v. pp. 314, 316. 
W. W. Skeat, An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, 1910, p. 522. 

4 Murray, op. cit. p. 735. Skeat, op. cit. p. 522. 

5 Jahns, op. cit. S. 38, 39. 


towards the end of the eighteenth century, namely, 
dada. 1 

A final confirmation of the phallic symbolism of the 
horse is afforded by consideration of the various 'magic 
horses' of mythology and folklore. 2 The two outstanding 
features of the series are the necessity of possessing this 
creature for the winning of wife and treasure and the 
theme of theft with which it is closely associated. This 
latter 'castration' theme is one that will occupy us more 
extensively in a subsequent chapter. 

A typical example was the horse called 'Splendid 
Mane' 3 who belonged to the Gaelic 'God of Headlands' 
Manannan, who gave his name to the Isle of Man. Being 
the son of the Gaelic Neptune, Ler, a point the sig- 
nificance of which will appear later, he was the patron 
of sailors, and constantly travelled to and fro between 
Ireland and the Western Isles of the Blest. His horse 
was swifter than the spring wind, and travelled equally 
fast on land or over the waves of the sea. Ultimately 
Manannan lent him to the sun-god Lugh, who at a 
critical moment refused to return him. In one of the 
Vedic hymns 4 we read that Indra, the predecessor of 
Brahma, owed his powers to his two steeds: when he was 
separated from them he became like a weak mortal. The 
simplest form of the complete story is perhaps the Hindu 
one in which the thief makes a hole in the wall and 
steals both the daughter and the treasure of the king. 5 
It is evidently one form of the large group of legends of 
the Brunhilda type in which the hero overcomes various 
difficulties and finally wins the beautiful princess. 6 He is 
usually aided by either some magical instrument, sword, 
etc., or some living agency, often an animal, like Sigurd's 
horse Gram, that advises and guides him, and in the form 
that interests us here it is a magic horse with exceptional 
powers of speed. A pretty example of this is the Moorish 

1 Society for Pure English, Tract No. vii. p. 31. 

2 jahns, op. cit. S. 354-360. 3 Squire, op. cit. pp. 60, 98. 

4 Rigveda, Book x. Hymn 105, Strophe 3. 

5 Cox, op. cit. vol. i. p. 115. 

6 Id., op. cit. vol. i. pp. 149-156 gives a list of these. 


tale of Prince Ahmed, whom a dove tells how to find 
a wonderful Arabian steed in an almost inaccessible 
cavern: after overcoming a number of obstacles with the 
help of the steed he finally carries away the princess. 1 
In myths proper the fairy-tale motif of overcoming ob- 
stacles is replaced by the idea of releasing a damsel from 
the spell cast upon her; the knight has to prove his 
courage by spending a night with her, or his virility by 
performing the sexual act with her three times within an 
hour, and so on. 2 

It is easy to see that the underlying theme with which 
these stories deal is the Oedipus one of overcoming the 
father and winning the forbidden mother. In many of 
them the magic weapon is torn from the father-imago 
before being put to its erotic use. In the Rigveda 3 the 
wonderful horse of the twin Acrins actually slays the 
serpent-monster himself, and among the seven adven- 
tures of Firdusi's hero Rustem is one in which the magic 
horse fights the monster and drives it away while his 
master sleeps. The phallic significance is shown by the 
fact that the horse's head or tail alone common phallic 
symbols can perform the same feats. Thus Indra 
annihilates his enemies, the ninety-nine monsters, with 
the head of a horse Dadhyanc, 4 just as Samson uses the 
jaw-bone of an ass for the same purpose. Another hymn 
praising him after his victories says: 'The tail of a horse 
wert Thou then, O Indra/ 5 

In most of the German versions the magic horse is 
first won by a deed of valour and then used to win the 
maiden. A common type of this kind is the Glass Moun- 
tain fairy-tale in which the stupid youngest son is carried 
away to a cavern by a giant; when the giant is asleep 
the youth cuts his head off and finds in the stall three (!) 
steeds of wondrous beauty with whose help he wins the 
princess. 6 Another example is the 'Dummhans' tale 7 : 'In 

1 Cox, op. cit. vol. i. pp. 151-154. a Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 144. 

8 Rigveda, Book i. Hymn 117, Strophe 9, 

4 Id., Book i. Hymn 84, Strophe 13, 14; Hymn 117, Strophe 22. 

8 Id., Book i. Hymn 32, Strophe 12. 

8 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 117. 7 Id., op. cit. Bd. ii, S. 51. 


der Nacht kommt ein einaugiger Riese und will sich 
Korn stehlen, da springt ihm Dummhans auf die Schul- 
ter und reisst ihm das Auge aus. Der Riese verspricht 
ihm seinen Beistand, wenn er das Auge wieder erhalte. 
Hans gibt es ihm, erhalt Ross und Riistung, reitet den 
Glasberg hinauf und gewinnt die Princessin zur Frau.' 
('A one-eyed giant comes in the night to steal corn, but 
stupid Hans springs on his shoulder and tears his eye 
out. The giant promises to help him if he will restore his 
eye. Hans gives it him back, receives a horse and armour, 
rides up the glass mountain and wins the princess/) In 
a Russian fairy-tale a pious son, Ivan Durak, keeps 
watch for three nights on his father's grave. The grateful 
father, or rather his spirit, promises him that whenever 
he shall sound a whistle in time of need a magic grey 
horse with flaming eyes would make its appearance for 
his assistance. By means of this horse Ivan is able to 
perform the feat of leaping three times to the height of 
the wall of the palace where there hangs a picture of the 
Czar's daughter, and thus wins the beautiful princess 
for his wife. 1 In another version the horse enables him to 
kiss the princess through twelve mirrors evidently a 
form of the glass mountain theme and thus to win her. 2 
In the German counterpart the theme is presented in an 
even more Hamlet-like fashion. There it is a fiend who 
tears out the eye of an old man; the hero replaces it and 
the grateful old man rewards him with the gift of the 
necessary magic horse. 3 

In other stories the Oedipus motif is quite unveiled. 
A young prince in a dream sees himself on the throne, 
and on hearing of this presumption his father promptly 
throws him out of the house. Later on the prince replaces 
the stolen eye of an old man, who in his gratitude gives 
him a chamber-key with which he can open all doors but 
the ninth. He opens them all, however, and in the ninth 
room finds a golden steed. After he wins the princess he 

1 A. de Gubernatis, Die Thiere in dev indogermanischen Mythologie, Deutsche 
t)bersetzung, 1874, S. 229. 

* Gubernatis, loc. cit. 8 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 143-145. 


discovers to his horror that he cannot marry her because 
she turns out to be his sister, the king being his own 
father. In one version he is consoled by finding in the 
forbidden chamber a 'maiden of gold' who becomes his 
wife. 1 An allied fairy-tale tells how 'der verstossene 
Jiingling kommt zu zwei blinden Alten und verschafft 
ihnen die Augen wieder; der dankbare Alte schenkt ihm 
die Gabe der Verwandlung, vermoge welcher er in un- 
scheinbarer Gestalt auszieht und zwei Fiirstentochter 
gewinnt'. 2 (The cast-out youth comes to two blind old 
men and restores their sight. The grateful men make him 
the gift of being able to transform himself, whereupon 
he assumes an invisible guise and wins two princesses/) 
One theme in mythology leads to many others, and it 
is time to call a halt. In the next chapter I shall consider 
the infantile sources of these various beliefs and hope 
to throw light there on the inner meaning of the horse 

1 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 144. z Id., op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 146-147. 



THE attempts mythologists have at various times 
made to unravel the part that sexual themes have 
played in the elaboration of myths and folklore 
beliefs have not met with much success. Three considera- 
tions baulked them. In the first place, many undeniably 
sexual themes seemed in themselves to be so unintelligible 
or repellent that it seemed easier to regard them as being 
simply metaphors for other, non-sexual, themes. A 
striking example of this was the habit of castrating the 
father that was apparently an established custom in the 
Uranos-Chronos-Zeus dynasty. This seemed to be so 
meaningless or even unthinkable, if taken literally 
that there was nothing for it but to assume that the 
castration was a plastic circumscription of some astro- 
nomical phenomenon the waning of the moon, the 
seasonal diminution of the sun's strength, and so on; 
although it was never made clear why such simple 
phenomena had to be depicted in such an extraordinary 
disguise, or indeed in any disguise at all. In the second 
place, many of the interpretations of sexual symbolism 
gave the impression of being far-fetched and uncon- 
vincing, especially as no reason could be adduced why 
such symbolism should be employed at all. And in the 
third place a sexual theme would often culminate in some 
obscurity that was impenetrable, since the connection of 
it with the preceding sexual theme could not be fathomed. 
For all these reasons, not to mention the imperfect ac- 
quaintance that most mythologists displayed about the 
complexities of the sexual life, the progress made in this 
research, useful though the detailed work contained in 
it has often been, has not led to any valuable generaliza- 
tions being established. 

273 s 


Freud's 1 work on infantile sexuality has completely 
changed this state of affairs. By unravelling the details of 
sexual development in the young child he has shown its 
complexity, and by discovering the unconscious conflicts 
between it and fear or guilt he has been able to explain 
why its manifestations are so often veiled in symbolic and 
other guises. Further, he and Abraham 2 have applied 
this clinical knowledge to the subject of mythology itself, 
and have made it probable that the creative impulse of 
myth-formation was in the main the endeavour to allay 
the disturbing emotions that take their ultimate origin 
in the only partly resolved conflicts of childhood, con- 
flicts the effects of which persist into adult life to a far 
greater extent than has ever hitherto been even sus- 
pected. It is not too much to say that the key to myth- 
ology is the knowledge we have gained through psycho- 
analysis of infantile sexual conflicts. 

In the present context the evidence of such factors 
playing a central part in creating the various mythical 
beliefs about the horse is so extensive that one is em- 
barrassed to know how best to group and present them. 
Horses have evidently, for various reasons, been greatly 
admired and feared, and even deified. These exaggerated 
attitudes, and the corresponding beliefs, were derived 
only in small part from interest in the horse as such, far 
more from the opportunity its various attributes gave 
to presenting ideas of a purely human provenance. One 
has to imagine THE HORSE in a mythological sense, often 
a Horse-God, and to investigate its supposed attributes 
individually. One could, for instance, consider the rela- 
tions of this mythical Horse to water, fire and wind in 
turn, each of which would provide a considerable chap- 
ter; we should have the river or sea horse-gods, the sun 
horse-gods, and the nocturnal or death horse-gods re- 
spectively. I find it more expedient, however, to divide 
the material into two main parts according as it relates 

1 See particularly his Drei A bhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie, Zweite Ausgabe, 
1910. [Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. v. S. 3.] 

2 Karl Abraham, Traum und Mythus (Schriften zur angewandten Seelenkunde, 
Viertes Heft, 1909). 


to one or the other of the two most prominent features 
that distinguish infantile from adult sexuality. 


Around this single word there centres in psycho- 
analytical work a complex series of ideas. It signifies 
there not so much castration in its biological sense as the 
simple idea of the penis being cut off. Such an idea is 
remote from the ordinary consciousness of adult life, as 
also from the facts of everyday reality, but it neverthe- 
less plays an exceedingly important part in the uncon- 
scious mind, especially in childhood. Around it are 
clustered all the emotions related to the fear, guilt and 
punishment that are responses to the Oedipus wishes as 
expressed in masturbation. The dread of castration , is 
essentially the fear of retaliation for the corresponding 
impulse directed against the rival parent, and it is the 
central starting-point of the sense of guilt that is later 
developed into conscience. 

The whole matter is greatly complicated by the simple 
circumstance of the anatomical difference between the 
two sexes, for this is always interpreted in both sexes in 
terms of the castration fears. Both sexes tend at first to 
regard the female genital as merely a castrated genital, 
and this has fateful consequences for each in respect of 
their attitude towards the other. On the boy's side there 
is an attitude of contempt and a reinforcement of his 
fears, the justification for which he sees apparently con- 
firmed. On the giiTs side there is an attitude of envy and 
injustice, with a reinforcement of her sense of guilt at 
what she interprets as a punishment. [Freud has well 
named this phase in development the phallic stage, in 
which both sexes agree that the only positive expression 
of genitality is a phallus, so that all turns on the question 
of possessing or not possessing one. Traces of this stage 
are only too commonly preserved in adult life.] 

A still further complication is added by more dynamic 
factors. It has been found that identification with the 



opposite sex is with both sexes one of the most powerful 
defences against the difficulties and dangers of the 
Oedipus situation. This is for certain reasons usually 
more manifest with the female than the male, though it 
is doubtful whether there is much difference between 
the two in the deeper layers of the mind. 

With this knowledge in mind it becomes more possible 
to understand a number of facts in the folklore of the 
horse. Indicative of the phallic stage of development is, 
for instance, the alternation between attitudes of over- 
adulation and contempt for the creature according as it 
is used to symbolize the male or the female genital. We 
noted in the first chapter of this book 1 that the original 
Teutonic word for horse = masculine 'mar', feminine 
'mare', came to be used almost entirely in its feminine 
form, and that the same word was used to designate a 
whore or contemptible woman. A female horse was in 
the Middle Ages a despised horse. 

On the other hand, we have noted the wonderful 
powers attributed to the magic horse of legend and have 
seen how indispensable various heroes have found the 
possession of him to be. Even Indra himself became like 
a feeble mortal when deprived of his steeds. 2 Among the 
stories of the hero who can perform great deeds once he 
achieves possession of this magic creature, the explana- 
tion of which I gave in the preceding chapter, special 
interest attaches to those where the creature is at first 
a cripple or worthless and becomes valuable, noble or 
wonderful only after a further process. It is indeed 
rather the rule that the steed in question is born ugly, 
misshapen and deformed and only later becomes noble 
and handsome. Gubernatis 3 gives numerous examples of 
this from Indian, Russian and Teutonic legends. Thus 
the Hungarian magic horse Tatos was born with an ugly 
appearance, crippled and thin, as was the Indian Avuna, 
the chariot-horse of the sun. The horse of the sun-hero 

1 See Part III. p. 245. a Part III. p. 269. 

8 A. de Gubernatis, Die Thiere in der indogermanische Mythologie, Deutsche 
Ubersetzung, 1874, S. 222, 224, 229, 232, 1*33. 


is sometimes a worthless mare who later changes into a 
gallant steed. The change seems to be a mysterious one. 
In most cases it is a simple evolution, but sometimes one 
replaces the other; for instance, the Acrins, the Hindoo 
counterparts of the Greek Dioscuri, make a gift of a 
perfect steed to the hero who had only a weak horse. 
Occasionally the magic steed retains a trace of his pre- 
vious condition, such as in the Mahdbhdrata, where the 
King of Horses, Uddaihcrava, Indra's steed, who is as 
swift as thought, is shining white save for a black tail, a 
relic of black magic attempted on him by evil serpents. 
There can be little doubt that this whole theme relates 
to the attaining of virility, or the overcoming of the 
fear of castration, two equally valid descriptions of 
the successful emancipation from childhood, a feat com- 
pletely accomplished only by heroes. 

I may incidentally remark that this group of legends 
once more exemplifies a point on which stress was laid 
in an earlier chapter, namely the extraordinary identi- 
fication or interchangeability of horse with rider. To cite 
one example only: The Acrins, the famous riders of 
Hindoo mythology, derive their name from acra = a 
horse, the word originally signifying 'swift'. 1 At the same 
time they are identical with the steeds that draw the 
sun's chariot, with Indra's steeds, with the rays of the 
sun, and with the sun-god Indra himself. In some 
accounts, by lending him a magic horse, they enable the 
hero or the sun-god to capture the princess, in other 
versions it is they who perform this feat themselves; 
sometimes it is the hero who captures his master's horse 
and elopes, sometimes the hero, helped by his master's 
daughter, changes into a horse and escapes with her. 8 
In prefacing a number of examples that prove his state- 
ment, Gubernatis 3 writes: 'Die Sonne ist zu gleicher Zeit 
ein Held und ein Pferd; sie ist "der Schnelle", acva, ein 
Wort, das die beiden hervorragenden Eigenschaften 
ebensowohl des Helden wie des Sonnenrosses umfasst; 

1 Gubernatis, op. cit. S. 220. * Id., op. cit. S. 234. 

9 Id., op. cit. S. 256. 


der Held stirbt, der Held wird verbrannt: das Pferd wird 
ebenfalls geopfert; der Held tritt aus dem Stall heraus; 
ebenso das Pferd; der Held entfiihrt das Pferd. Der Held 
entschliipft dem Damon: das Pferd rettet den fliehenden 
Helden; der Held stiirmt im Kampfe vor: das Pferd 1st 
es, das ihn andringen lasst.' (The sun is at the same 
time a hero and a horse. He is "the swift one", acra, a 
word that comprises the two most prominent attributes 
of both the hero and the sun-steed. The hero dies, the 
hero is burned; the horse also is sacrificed; the hero 
emerges from a stable; likewise the horse; the hero 
elopes with the horse. The hero evades the demon; the 
horse rescues the escaping hero; the hero throws him- 
self into the fight; it is by means of the horse that he can 
charge forwards/) 

This last quotation beings us to one of the most 
interesting features of the horse in mythology, his associ- 
ation with the sun. The most important links connecting 
the two ideas are probably the notions of irresistible 
movement, luxuriant fertility and shining splendour, 
and we shall presently see that the roots of these are 
very far-reaching. At this point, however, we are con- 
cerned only with the ideas to do with the horse-sun 
theme that originate in the phallic stage of infantile 
development. The close association of fire- and sun- 
worship with phallicism has long been recognized, 1 the 
sun with its heat, its creative power, its daily erection 
and decline, and its diurnal plunge into water and night 
being one of the most widely spread phallic symbols 
of religious mythology. 

Almost everywhere in religious mythology one finds 
the horse and the sun intimately connected. In the Rig- 
Veda of Ancient India, from which some examples were 
quoted above, the two were formally identified, 2 so that 

1 See Abraham, op. cit. S. 30, 31, 41, 44, 52, etc., for a clear description of 
the symbolism, also G. W. Cox, The Mythology of the Aryan Nations, 1870, 
vol. ii. pp. 112-115, and W. Schwartz, 'Der rothe Sonnenphallos der Urzeit; 
cine mythologisch-anthropologische Untersuchung', Zeitschrift fur Ethnologic, 
1874, S. 167, 409. 

2 Gubernatis, op. cit. S. 220-276, etc. M. jahns, Ross und Reiter in Leben 
und Sprache, Glauben und Geschichte der Deutschen, 1872, Bd. i, S. 249. Max 


it is sometimes hardly possible to draw a distinction 
between them or tell to which of the two a given passage 
refers. The Acrins themselves, the Hindoo twin horse- 
gods of whom mention has already been made, were the 
sons of a mare, Tvashtris, who was the spouse of Savitar 
(the sun, doubtless also pictured here in equine form). 1 
Agni, Indra, Savitar, Krishna, the Dioscuri, Mithra, 
Zeus, Poseidon fa-mo?, Mars, Apollo, Pluto and the 
Teutonic Odin hardly ever appear except mounted, are 
often identified with horses, and owe much of their vic- 
torious career to their steeds. Among goddesses of whom 
the same is true may be mentioned the Vedic Aurora, 
Athene iWeta and Aphrodite tVTroSa/zeta. Throughout 
Oriental countries, in Babylonia, 2 Persia, 3 Syria, 4 etc., 
we find horses sacred to the sun-god, to whom they are 
regularly sacrificed and with whom they must have been 
originally identified. 

That the conceptions of sun-god and goat-god should 
so often occur together in Babylonian, Persian and 
Greek mythology, as Robertson 5 has shown that they 
do, is from this point of view quite intelligible, the 
lecherous attributes of the goat being well known; as is 
also the fact that the Hindoo sun-god Arusha (from 
arushi = mare) can in detail be identified with the Greek 
love-god Eros, the son of the god Ares whom we shall 
presently have to consider further. The streaming, 
shining rays of the sun have always been specially 
identified with the horse's mane, and Jahns interestingly 
points out how in Sanskrit, Greek and German the terms 
for 'mane' and 'shining' are closely allied; 6 we have al- 
ready 7 referred to the magic horse of the Gaelic god 

Miiller, Chips from a German Workshop, 1867, vol. ii. p. 132, etc. Lectures on 
Language, Second Series, p. 482. E. C. M. Senart, Essai sur la legcnde de Buddha, 
1882, 2 e"d. p. 66. 

1 Mahdbhdrata, i. 2599. 

2 W. St. C. Boscawen in Religious Systems of the World, 1904, cap. 'The 
Religion of Babylonia', p. 20. 

3 J. M. Robertson in Religious Systems of the World, 1904. Cap. 'Mithraism', 
p. 196. 4 2 Kings xxiii. n. 

6 J. M. Robertson, Christianity and Mythology, 1910, pp. 343-356. 
6 jahns, op. cit. S. 250. * Part III. p. 269. 


Manannan, whose name was actually 'Splendid Mane', 
and we may also mention in this connection the wonder- 
ful golden mane ascribed by the Egyptian Tryphiodoros 
to the famous horse of Troy. 1 The same analogy has also 
brought together the ideas of sun and lion, 2 and later 
astrologers replaced the picture of the horse in the old 
Indian zodiac by that of the lion. The horse becomes 
identified not only with the streaming rays of the sun, 
but with the updarting flames of fire, so that in the 
Veda we have the Robits of Agni, the fire-god, a,s well 
as the Hants ( = glisteners) of Indra, the Sun-god. 3 It is 
thus suitable that the Teutonic Sleipnir, who has all the 
attributes of a sun-steed, should be the offspring of the 
fire-god Loki. 4 The sexual significance of mane as of hair 
in general is familiar enough, whether from biological 
considerations or from the numerous legends of the 
Samson type. 

Odin, the horse and wind god, has been in many 
respects identified with the Greek Ares and the Latin 
Mars; 5 his sun-god character, incidentally, is plain 
enough from the date of his festivals, Twelfth Night and 
the First of May. Now both these classical names are 
said to be derived from the Mar root in question, 6 from 
which also is derived the name of the Maruts, the storm 
winds of the Vedas. 7 These, as their name denotes, are 
called the crushers or grinders, and they were worship- 
ped as destroyers and reproducers two closely allied 
ideas; it is interesting that Ares has also been called the 
crusher or grinder, the name being in fact cognate with 
the Greek Moliones, the mill-men or crushers. In the 
earlier chapters of this volume we saw how central in 
the whole Nightmare conception is the idea of pressing, 
crushing, grinding. To grind, from classical myths to 

Gubernatis, op. cit. S. 224. 

See Abraham (op. cit. S. 53) on the symbolism of the lion. 
Cox, op. cit, vol. i. p. 426, vol. ii. p. 2. 
jahns, op. cit. S. 346, 348. 

F. Y. Powell in Religious Systems of the World, 1904. Cap. 'Teutonic 
Heathendom*, p. 285. 

Cox, op. cit. vol. i. p. 32. jahns, op. cit. S. 328. 
Cox, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 222. 


modern slang, has always been a symbol for sexual inter- 
course, as may be illustrated from the following passages 
by Nork. 1 'In der symbolischen Sprache bedeutet aber 
Miihle das weibliche Glied (/ziAXo?, wo von mulier), und 
der Mann ist der Mulier, daher der Satyriker Petronius 
molere mulier em fur: Beischlaf gebraucht. Der durch 
die Buhlin der Kraft beraubte Samson muss in der 
Miihle mahlen (Richter xvi. 21), welche Stelle der Tal- 
mud (Sota fol. 10), wie folgt, commentirt: Unter dem 
Mahlen ist immer die Siinde des Beischlaf s zu verstehen. 
Darum standen am Feste der keuschen Vesta in Rom 
alle Miihlen still. . . . Wie Apollo war auch Zeus ein 
Mulier (/Kt/Aeik, Lykophron, 435), aber schwerlich ein 
Mulier von Profession, sondern insofern er als schaffen- 
des, Leben gebendes Prinzip der Fortpflanzung der 
Geschopfe vorsteht. ... Ist nun erwiesen, dass jeder 
Mann ein Mulier, und jede Frau eine Miihle, woraus 
allein sich begreifen liesse, dass jede Vermahlung eine 
Vermehlung/ ('In symbolic language a mill signifies the 
female genital ( /xuXXo?, from which comes mulier} and 
the husband is the miller, hence Petronius' use of 
molere mulierem (to grind a woman) to describe the 
sexual act. Samson when robbed of his strength by 
Delilah has to grind in the mill 2 (Judges, xvi. 21), on 
which passage the Talmud comments as follows: by the 
phrase "grinding corn" one has always to understand 
the sin of carnal intercourse. This is why all the mills 
had to stand still in Rome at the festival of the chaste 
Vesta. . . . Like Apollo, Zeus was also a miller (/^uXew, 
Lykophron 435), though scarcely one by profession 
only in so far as he represents the creative, life-giving 
principle of propagation. ... It is now clear that every 
husband is a miller and every wife a mill, from which 
it is intelligible that every marriage (Vermahlung} is 
a making of meal (Vermehlung}.'} In this connection 
one thinks also of the Roman confarreatio, where the 

1 F. Nork, Mythologie der Volkssagen und Volksmdrchen, 1848, S. 301, 

3 A typical talion punishment. 


espousal was signalized by the couple partaking of the 
same cake, and of our own wedding-cake customs. 

Like Mars, Ares was originally a purely chthonic god 1 
and only later acquired his evil significance of a storm 
god 2 . The ideas of reproduction and rapid travel are once 
more found in connection with 'Alp' beings, and we shall 
see that the horse-sun theme is equally well represented 
in the group. The Latin Mars was originally, as is well 
known, an agricultural deity, i.e. of reproduction. Cox 
adds: 3 'In his own character, as fostering the wealth of 
corn and cattle, he was worshipped at Praeneste, as 
Herodotus would have us believe that Scythian tribes 
worshipped Ares, with the symbol of a sword, one of the 
many forms assumed by the Hindu Linga. As such, he 
was pre-eminently the father of all living things, Mars- 
piter, the parent of the twin-born Romulus and Remus/ 
In this latter connection it is perhaps not irrelevant to 
say that the word mar in Persian signifies snake, and in 
Chaldean Lord or Master. As a title of a god the term 
Mar probably originates in the Scythian. In reference to 
this Wake writes; 4 'The primitive meaning of Ar was 
"fire", from which the lion, or the symbol of the Sun- 
god, was called ari, the Sun-god himself having a name 
Ra. Strictly, therefore, Mar would denote "fire-worship- 
pers", a title which, as is well known, was especially 
applicable to the ancient Medes. The Aryans generally 
appear to have been Sun- or Fire- worshippers, and prob- 
ably they have received their name from this fact; this 
would seem to be much more probable than the ordinary 
derivation of the name Aryan from the root ar, "to 
plough"/ Layard has made it highly probable that the 
rapid spread of Mithraism in Rome was due to its being 
connected with the worship of Mars, and indeed some 
figures of Mithra-Mars consist of a human body encircled 

1 H. O. Miiller, Ares, 1848. O. Stoll, Die ursprungliche Bedeutung des Ares, 

2 L. Preller, Griechische Mythologie, 1854, Bd. i. S. 226. Sauer, in A. Pauly's 
Real-Encyclopadie der klassischen Altertumwissenschaft, 1905, Bd. v. S. 657. 

3 Cox, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 311. 

4 G. Staniland Wake, Serpent Worship, i388, p. 112. 


by a serpent and having the head of a lion. The Persian 
name for the sun-god Mithra was Mihr, which may well 
be related to Mar (gleam); Mihr literally means both the 
sun and love, being, as Robertson remarks, the Persian 
equivalent of Eros. 1 

A cognomen of Ares was Hippios, 2 and in the early 
period of the worship of Mars this god was called Mars 
Gradivas on account of the fruitfulness (vegetation and 
springs) that followed his steps. 3 It is of interest that, 
just as we have seen throughout in the mythology of the 
horse, Mithra himself was a hermaphrodite, being often 
represented as a divine couple. 4 

An interesting side-issue of the 'brilliant horse-sun' 
theme is suggested by Jahns: 5 'Die Eigenschaft blen- 
denderUnnahbarkeit muste iibrigens dasBild des Rosses 
ganz besonders zum Granz- und Feldzeichen geeignet 
erscheinen lassen. Es war ja sehr natiirlich dass man 
grade an der Landesgranze die Neidstange errichtete, 
und moglicherweise stammt vom Aufrichten eines 
Granzbildes in Gestalt einer Marhe (March, Marke) 
iiberhaupt das Wort Marke im Sinne von "Granze" und 
damit zugleich das Zeitwort markiren oder merken. 
Leztere Bedeutung fiihrt dann zum Begriffe Mark als 
Gewichtseinheit. Und nun diirften sich auch leicht Worte 
wie markten, marche und marchand anschliessen.' ('The 
attribute of dazzling unapproachability must have 
made the image of a horse specially suited as a sign to 
mark off borders. It was very natural for people to erect 
a "pole of covetousness" at the very frontier of a country, 
and very possibly it is from erecting a frontier sign in the 
form of a mare (old German march, marke} that the 
word Marke in the sense of c 'border " is derived, and 
from that the time expression markiren (to mark time) 
or merken (to attend, to mark). This signification then 
leads to the idea of mark as a unit of weight. And we 

1 J. M. Robertson, Pagan Christs, Studies in Comparative Hierology, 1903, 

p. 33- 

2 Jahns, op. cit. S. 328. 

8 J. M. Robertson in Religious Systems of the World, 1904, op. cit. p. 199. 
Ibid. 5 jahns, op. cit. S. 256. 


can easily add such words as markten (to deal), 
march6 (market) and marchand (tradesman)/) Jahns' 
semantics is certainly a little wild here, but I believe his 
etymological conclusions themselves to be ultimately 
correct. In this connection I might mention that the 
borders between England and Wales are still called the 
marches (march incidentally is the Welsh for 'horse'). 
Perhaps also the Greek Moira, the apportioner, belongs 
to this circle, and also the Middle English mere = 

The phallic significance of the sun explains, amongst 
others, the two following matters. The sunset, with the 
plunge of the sun into the western sea, would be regarded 
as symbolizing an act of coitus, and actually in the re- 
ligion of India, where the sun and Linga are equally 
prominent, the male principle (Siva) is symbolized as 
fire, and the female (Vishnu) as water. Of the sun-steed 
god Surya it is written: 'I have beheld the permanent 
orb of the sun, your dwelling-place, concealed by water 
where (the hymns of the pious) liberate his steeds/ 1 
Probably this is one reason for the association of fruitful- 
ness with the West, e.g. the West Wind, an association 
furthered by the fact that this is in Europe the rainy 
wind. The conception is further developed in Greek 
mythology, where the sun-god Heracles fights savagely 
with the centaurs. Such creatures, as we shall presently 
see, are specially closely connected with water and seem 
to haunt places having a female symbolism. A fight with 
them thus represents ultimately the infantile sadistic 
conception of coitus, together with the assault on the 
father's penis that is so closely associated with the 
maternal genitalia. Many legends are based on this sun- 
set theme: one, in the story of Perceval, 'relates how to 
that knight, when he was in the middle of a forest much 
distressed for the want of a horse, a lady brought a fine 
steed as black as a blackberry. He mounted and he 
found this beast marvellously swift, but on his making 
straight for a vast river the knight made the sign of the 

1 Cox, op. cit. vol. i. p. 385. 


cross, whereupon he was left on the ground, and his 
horse plunged into the water, which his touch seemed to 
set ablaze/ 1 This is evidently a variant of the Arthurian 
legend, in which the Lady of the Lake brought the fam- 
ous sword Excalibur to the king; he wielded it loyally 
till the time of his death when he flung it back to the 
lake whence it came; this is a play on the motives of pro- 
creative power and impotence. 

The themes of impotence and castration just hinted at 
play a most important part in sun mythology, and indeed 
probably furnish the main reason for the role of the sun 
in early religions. The identification of the waxing and 
waning sun with the phallus, and particularly with the 
father's phallus, brought with it the projection of re- 
pressed wishes and fears relating to this organ. All 
nations have taken a remarkable interest in the pheno- 
menon of the annual increase and decrease of the sun's 
activity. The vital interest that these phenomena often 
have for hunting and agricultural pursuits evidently 
stirred even more intimate emotional responses. Compli- 
cated rituals and festivals 2 have been instituted with the 
aim of establishing some stable relationship between 
man and these disturbing phenomena, of affording 
some reassurance that the threatened catastrophe would 
not befall them. 

The decrease of the sun's power after midsummer was 
felt as a symbolic or portending castration, and indeed 
still is so in the unconscious. The sun's rays, i.e. the 
horse's mane, the hero's locks, visibly diminished, and 
the observation, as always, was given this symbolic 
meaning. Ancient Asiatic ideas actually depicted the 
change in the notion of the sun-hero, e.g. Heracles, be- 
coming a female, and believed that when he was robbed 
of the golden hair in which his strength resided he would, 
like Samson, be delivered helpless into the hands of his 

1 J. Rhys, Celtic Folklore, 1901, vol. ii. p. 438. 

2 Cox, op. cit. vol. ii. p, 113, clearly points out the phallic significance of 
these festivals. 


The early Teutons expressed the same idea in an even 
more forcible and plastic way. According to them the 
sun-hero lost after midsummer not only his locks, but 
his very head. This is why a headless rider, or at most 
a rider who carries his head under his arm, appears in 
such a countless number of superstitious beliefs, legends 
and fairy-tales, especially those clustering around Mid- 
summer Night, St. John's Eve. 1 The centre of this Teu- 
tonic folklore is plainly Odin himself; it is he who is the 
beheaded (i.e. castrated) sun-rider. And just as Heracles 
in his passage through the zodiac becomes feminine on 
reaching the sign of Cancer, so, according to the Teutons, 
did the sun travel backwards like a crab after passing 
midsummer. So the horse on which the headless rider 
journeys usually has his shoes nailed on backwards, as 
have the male nixes (water horses) whom we shall meet 
later. 2 

The Christian religion adopted here its usual syncretic 
attitude towards the older mythology. The famous story 
of John the Baptist's beheading, together with his name 
and the fact of his birth being six months earlier than 
that of Jesus, i.e. in midsummer, naturally destined him 
to be the carrier of the old beliefs. Even in the New 
Testament a suitable passage was found: 'He must in- 
crease, but I must decrease' (St. John iii. 30). Like 
Heracles and Samson, he was betrayed and castrated 
(beheaded) by the woman who loved him. In the numer- 
ous German stories connecting him with Odin 3 there is 
one interesting one that reveals the identification with 
the old Storm-god. It relates how when Herodias kissed 
the head on the charger a stormy wind from his mouth 
blew at her so violently that she is still floating about in 
the air. 

Something might here be said about the old 'need- 
fire' customs of Midsummer Eve, but to keep to the 
present subject I will mention only one point, namely 

1 The motif has even lingered in modern American romances: cp. Mayne 
Reid's The Headless Horseman. 

8 jahns, op. cit. S. 277. ' 3 jd. t op. cit. S. 317. 


that in Russia, and probably also in Germany, horses 
played an important part in the ritual of this fire. 1 

In connection with the motif of headlessness the reader 
is referred to earlier passages 2 in which it was shown how 
the head alone can possess all the wonderful properties 
of the magic steed, being indeed the quintessence of this 
phallic creature. The same symbolism applies, as was 
there pointed out, to other parts of the body, e.g. the 
ears and particularly the tail; in the Mahabharata, for in- 
stance, the name of the first horse to be created, the king 
of horses and Indra's own steed, Uddaihcrava, really 
means 'the erect-eared one'. Jahns 3 thinks that the sun, 
with its rays, was probably first identified with the head 
of the horse, with its mane, and he quotes from the Rig- 
Veda a hymn addressed to the horse: 

Thee I recognized from afar, 

The winged one darting from heaven; 

On the beautiful dustless path 

I saw the winged head hasten. 

A special significance has been attached to the horse's 
head in practically all countries, and it has been used 
for the most diverse objects, to guard against enemies, 
to keep away evil demons, to bring good luck, fruit fulness, 
etc., etc. Lawrence 4 has collected a number of examples 
of these, which need not be referred to in detail. Many 
of the related customs are still in force at the present 
day, e.g. among the South Slavs, 5 in Wales, 6 in many 
parts of Germany, 7 etc. In many places, e.g. the last- 
mentioned, the customs are derivatives of the old Odin's 
procession; I well remember the chief bogey of my child- 
hood, the horse's head (Welsh 'pen-y-ceffyl') 8 carried 

1 Jahns, op. cit. S. 318. 2 Part III. p. 270. 

a jahns, op. cit. S. 250. 

4 R. M. Lawrence, The Magic of the Horseshoe, 1899, ch. xii. 
6 F. S. Krauss, Slavische Volkforschungen, 1908, S. 50. 

6 W. W. Sikes, British Goblins, 1880, p. 256. Thomas, La Survivance du 
culte totemique des animaux dans le pays de Galles, 1898, p. 40. 

7 S. Seligmann, Der Bose Blick und Verwandtes, 1910, Bd. ii. S. 129. 

8 To this creature Past III. of the present book owes its existence, the 
writing of it being inspired ultimately by the desire to understand the relation- 
ship between that particular bogey and night terrors in general. As a con- 
tribution to the psycho-analysis of the unconscious motives impelling to research, 


round on a pole at Christmas time. Of especial interest 
is the belief that a horse's head will guard against the 
nocturnal visits of the Nightmare. 1 This contains the 
same symbolism as the belief that the Nightmare can 
be averted by a broom, 2 or by a sharp knife. 3 

The same significance has been extensively trans- 
ferred to the idea of the hat, the phallic symbolism of 
which has long been recognized. 4 A special broad hat 
was one of Odin's invariable personal attributes. So much 
did it attract the imagination that the name of St. 
Hubert, the Christian heir of Odin's interest for the 
chase and for riding, signifies 'the hat-carrier'. 5 There is 
a whole series of legends in which the hat of a night- 
fiend (Alp] has been stolen or lost and he gratefully 
rewards with treasure whoever restores it. 

The stolen hat here is evidently equivalent to the 
stolen eye, of which several examples were given in the 
last chapter, 6 the connection between the theme and the 
castration wishes of the Oedipus complex being plain 
enough. There is also an intrinsic connection between 
the hat and eye in this context. When the fiend's hat is 
stolen he is no longer invisible and then loses his power 
of tormenting sleepers, i.e. copulating with them; the 
same result follows when he loses his eye. Thus if the 
fiend can be seen or cannot see he is impotent. 7 

The theme of 'one-eyedness* plays an extensive part in 
the Nightmare (Alp] legends and superstitions: Laistner 8 
has made a specially full study of it. As was just re- 
marked, the (sexual or tormenting) power of the night- 

I may further mention that the psychological starting-point of the whole work 
was a childish dislike, on the grounds of supposedly effeminate associations, of my 
first name, Alfred. I discarded the name as soon as I could, but on discovering 
in later years that the meaning of it could be construed as 'learned in Night- 
mare' it occurred to me, at first unconsciously, that my childish dislike might 
be put to some practical use and the matter finally disposed of. 

1 A, Wuttke, Der deutsche Volksaberglaube der Gegenwart, 1900, S. 128. 

2 L. Laistner, Das Rdtsel der Sphinx, 1889, Bd. ii. S. 321. Lawrence, op. cit. 

P- 39- 

3 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 108.' E. H. Meyer, Germanische Mythologie, 
1891, S. 137. 

4 Hargrave Jennings, vol. ii. pp. 56-60. 

6 jahns, op. cit. S. 323. 8 Part III. p. 271. 

7 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 57. 8 Id., op. cit. Bd. ii. Kap. 41, 46, etc. 


fiend resides in his eye, and the dread of the 'evil eye' 
constitutes such an extensive chapter among human 
superstitions that I shall refrain from opening it up here. 1 
We have repeatedly observed the bridge between these 
malignant fiends on the one hand and the highest gods 
on the other, and the two are connected in this sym- 
bolism also. The Eye of God is one of the best known 
symbols for his creative power and for his pursuing and 
retributive tendencies. Surya, the Vedic Helios, was 
called 'the eye of Mithra, Varuna and Agni'. 2 As is well 
known, Odin was one-eyed, and Wuttke explains this 
by the fact that the sun is the eye of heaven, of which 
Odin was the God. 3 Mogk 4 goes deeper than this, how- 
ever, in pointing out that all 'menschenfressende Damo- 
nen, die Polypheme, fast bei alien Volkern einaugig 
erscheinen, so geht auch die Einaugigkeit Wotans auf 
eine Zeit zuriick, da die Menschen noch Angst vor seiner 
seelenraubenden Natur hatten/ ('All demons who devour 
human beings, the Polyphems, appear as one-eyed 
among almost all peoples, and Wot an' s one-eyedness 
itself goes back to a time when man still dreaded its 
capacity to rob him of his soul/) 

Here and there one catches glimpses of material older 
than that derived from either the phallic phase of sexual 
development or even the excrementitial one that will be 
described in the next section, namely from the prim- 
ordial penis-womb phantasies of infancy. It is in the 
womb that the dreaded fight with the father's penis takes 
place, and so the idea of obtaining the magic weapon is 
often associated with places symbolizing the womb. The 
magic steed, for instance, is in many legends discovered 
in a cavern or valley. Odin obtained his magic sap of 
life from a cavern, and when he leads his Furious Host 
at night they emerge from a hole in a mountain. Great 
personages in whose death it is impossible to believe live 
on in the hollow of a mountain, like King Frederick 

1 See S. Seligmann, Der Bose Blick und Verwandtes, 1910. 

* Cox, op. cit. vol. i. p. 384. 8 Wuttke, op. cit. S. 17. 

4 E. Mogk, Germanische Mythologie, 1906, S. 50. 



Barbarossa; for long the people of Bohemia refused to 
believe that the famous Taborites were exterminated in 
the battle of Lipany (1434) and maintained that they 
were merely hiding in a cave in the mountain Blanik. 1 
We shall presently see that this theme of 'penis in a 
womb' is extensively connected with that of stealing, a 
matter that throws a fuller light on the infantile phan- 
tasies in question. 

These selections from the vast material available 
should suffice to show how greatly the mythological 
beliefs about the Horse, and the corresponding Night- 
mare motifs about the night-fiend, have been influenced 
by the particular infantile phase of sexual development 
known as the phallic stage, with its accompanying 
castration wishes and fears. 


As startling as the psycho-analytical discovery of 
the extraordinary part played by castration thoughts in 
the course of the young child's development, and in the 
unconscious mind of the adult, was the further one of a 
still earlier phase, a pregenital one, in which the child's 
mind apprehends sexuality very largely in terms of ex- 
cremental processes. Nevertheless it is on reflection in- 
telligible that both the anatomical propinquity of the 
respective organs and their close physiological associa- 
tions should render this inevitable in the dawn of sexual 
development before this function has yet become ade- 
quately differentiated. In fact the adult emancipation 
of sexual from excremental processes is but rarely com- 
plete, and traces of the old association even apart 
from gross perversions are common enough; the very 
use of the word 'dirty* in reprehension of sexual indul- 
gence the stock phrase of our school authorities is in 
itself indicative of this. If, therefore, my main conten- 
tion is correct, that Nightmare experiences and the 
mythological beliefs about horses that are associated 

1 F. Liitzow, Bohemia : an historical Sketch, 1895, p. 170. 


with this are the expression of infantile sexual conflicts 
that continue to operate in the adult unconscious be- 
cause they were not adequately resolved in childhood, 
we may expect to find both direct and, still more, in- 
direct signs of excremental activities among the constit- 
uents of these beliefs and of sexual potency being ex- 
pressed in terms of them. It is even possible that our 
investigation of the topic may have more than this 
confirmatory aim and will yield conclusions of genera] 
value on the deepest symbolism of the horse in myth- 

We shall consider the three main excretory processes 
those relating to urine, faeces and flatus, in this order 
With the first of these, urine, the phantasies are foi 
obvious reasons usually expressed in terms of water 
that of impregnation with urine the infantile equiva 
lent of semen being associated with the actual connec 
tion between water and fruitfulness in nature. On th< 
whole it may be said that when the idea of water is bein; 
used symbolically in mythology one natural source o 
water rain signifies urine, the other the gushing ou 
of subterranean water springs more often the uterin 

Let us return to our starting-point. The Celtic wor 
march, from which the word mare itself is probabl 
derived, is allied to the modern English words mars} 
mere and moor, which signify damp places, and to th 
Gaelic mara, all of which are cognate with the numei 
ous MR words for sea, French mer, Welsh mo\ 
Russian more, etc. Now it is very remarkable the 
night-fiends who assume the shape of horses are, as w 
shall presently see, almost always connected with ides 
of water. Laistner 1 remarks: 'Die Rossgestalt des Alpsi< 
hauptsachlich an dem irn Wasser hausenden Lur hafte 
geblieben/ (The horse guise of the night-fiend has bee 
retained from the Lure who dwells in water/) 

In general the ideas of horse and water have alwa^ 
been closely associated, suggesting that something aboi 

1 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 172. 


a horse instinctively brings to the mind the idea of water. 
Jahns 1 points out that even the names that denote horse 
spring from common roots for those that denote water: 
the Latin aqua and equus (Old High German ach and 
ech respectively) are derived from the old Indo-Ger- 
manic akrd (= water) and akva (== steed), both of which 
come from the root ak = to hasten. The same may 
apply to Ross itself, 'denn ur und or sind uralte, 
jeden t/rsprung bezeichnende Worter, welche vilen 
Sprachen zur <2^0//bezeichnung dienten. Das lateinische 
on> = "entstehen" gehort zu diser Wurzel, und es 1st 
nicht unwahrscheinlich, dasz auch das altdeutsche ors 
hier ankniipft in ser vilen Lokalitatsbezeichnungen 
auf Wasser deutet und somit als eine gemeinschaftliche 
Bezeichnung fur Quelle und Ross erscheint. . . . Dasz 
Worter wie Renner und rinnen zusammenhangen, ligt 
auf der Hand. In der antiken Dichtung ist von merk- 
wiirdiger Durchsichtigkeit in diser Beziehung der Name 
einer Nebengestalt des Poseidon, namlich des rosse- 
beriimten troischen Rhesos. Denn diser Name bedeutet 
gradezu den "Rinnenden" (von pew), und darum fiiren 
auch zwei Flusse disen Namen: einer in Troas, ein 
andrer in Bythinien/ (Tor ur and or are primitive 
words which many languages use to denote the idea of 
"source' '. The Latin or ire ( =to arise) belongs to this root, 
and it is not improbable that the Old German ors, 
which in many names of places indicates water and thus 
seems to be a common designation for "horse" and 
"spring", is also connected with it. ... That words like 
Renner (= race-horse) and rinnen (=to stream) are 
related is plain enough. A clear example in this connec- 
tion from classical writings is a guise of Poseidon, that 
of the Trojan Rhesos so famous for his glistening steeds. 
For this title simply means "the streamer" (from pea?}, 
and hence has given the name to two rivers, one in 
Troad, another in Bithynia.') Further than this, the 
place names formed from horse names generally contain 
a reference to water as well. Jahns, 2 after giving a list of 

1 Jahns, op. cit. S. 279, 280. * * Id., op. cit. S. 215. 


some six hundred and fifty such words, writes: 'Hier sei 
nur aufmerksam gemacht, wie sich iiberreich und fast 
ausnahmslos bei jeder der aufgefiirten Benennungen die 
Verbindung zwischen den Rossenamen und der Bezeich- 
nung des Wassers, der rinnenden Flut ergiebt. Uberall 
begegnen wir den Pferdenamen in fester Verschwisterung 
mit Silben wie: ach, bach, bore, brunn, bronn, quell, see, 
u.s.w/ ('Here one need only call attention to the fact of 
how extraordinarily rich with every one of these place 
names is the connection between the word for horse and 
that for running water. Everywhere we come across 
names for horses in close conjunction with syllables like: 
ach, bach, bore, brunn, bronn, quell, see, etc/) 

This is perhaps the place to say something about the 
occurrence of creatures, half man and half horse, which 
have played a considerable part in mythology. Not only 
are they of general interest to us in confirming the views 
expressed above concerning the identification of human 
and animal interests and the important relation in which 
they stand to dream life, to which I am inclined to refer 
the origin of most mythical monsters, but they are par- 
ticularly closely connected with the present theme of 
Horse and Water, and thus form a counterpart to the 
interchangeability of Hero and Horse which we studied 
in the preceding chapter in connection with the Sun- 
God. Centaurs, to take the classical example of these 
creatures, have an essentially watery origin. Kronos, the 
Greek Saturn, begot one by Philyra, the daughter of the 
water, while the others were the offspring of Ixion and 
Nephele (cloud). From a careful study of various coins 
and engravings Knight 1 has proved the erotic signifi- 
cance of the Centaurs, who were indeed sometimes con- 
founded with Satyrs; various legends discussed by Cox 2 
confirm this conclusion, which Laistner 3 also indepen- 
dently reached. The word itself, which signifies biting, 
reminds one of the sadistic conception of the horse, so 
often found in dreams. Other Grecian monsters show a 

1 Knight, op. cit. pp. 77-78. a Cox, op. cit. vol. ii. pp. 54, 67. 

8 Laistner, op. cit., Bd. i. S. 309, 313. 


similar fusion of two animals. Thus the Hippocampen 
were half horse and half fish (hermaphroditic). The 
Bucentaurs were half men and half ox or horse; Bucen- 
toro is the name of the state-galley of the Doge of Venice, 
used at the annual ceremony of marrying the Adriatic 
by throwing a ring into it. 1 

Combined figures such as the centaurs rarely occur in 
Northern mythology, but allied ones are quite common. 
There are a number of water demons who appear either 
in equine form or as human beings who in some respects 
resemble horses (neighing, etc.). The generic name for 
them is Nixie. 2 In Bohemia the Nix is actually called 
Hastrmann (== horse-man). 3 Laistner traces analogies 
between Poseidon and the German Nix. 4 The belief in 
question has been extensively developed in Scotland, 
where it is still held in outlying parts; a great many 
legends and tales are related of the water-horses there, 
the colloquial name of which is 'kelpie'. 5 A female kelpie 
can be transferred into a woman, and vice versa. The 
main characteristic of the Nixies, 6 the Kelpie, 7 and the 
Manx Glashtyn 8 is that they attack people of the 
opposite sex and carry them off to their watery home. 
They even intermarry: a child was born in Shulista of 
such a union as recently as 1794, the father being a Sun 
God in exile. A Midas-like fusion of horse and man 
occurs in a Welsh legend, of King March ap Meirchion 
(March = Welsh for 'horse') who resembled a man in all 
except his ears, which were horse's. 

One of the most prominent attributes for water is its 
movement, one we have seen also to be a central one of 
horse symbolism. The movement may be either flowing, 

1 Jennings, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 41. O. Stoll, Das Geschlechtsleben in der Volker- 
psychologie, 1908, S. 435. 

2 Wuttke, op, cit. S. 48-51. jahns, op. cit. S. 278. 
4 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 445, 449. 

6 J. F. Campbell, Popular Tales of the West Highlands, 1860, vol. ii. pp. 190- 
193. J. Jamieson, Scottish Dictionary, 1880, vol. iii. p. 15. C. Mackay, A 
Dictionary of Lowland Scotch, 1888, p. 105. 

Wuttke, op. cit. S. 49. 

7 J. G. Dalyell, The Darker Superstitions of Scotland, 1835, pp. 543-544. 
J. A. Macculloch, The Misty Isle of Sky e, 1905, pp. 235, 239. 

8 J. Rhys, Celtic Folklore, Welsh and Manx, 1901, vol. i. p. 289. 


as with most of the examples Jahns cites, or undulatory. 
The latter has repeatedly led to 'sailing' and 'riding' being 
identified. 1 We still say 'the ship rides on the waves', 
and in English the white waves are commonly called sea 
horses. The Greek word for helmsman meant literally 
'the rein-holder', and Odin, the Teutonic Horse-God, at 
times appears as a helmsman. 2 It is little wonder, there- 
fore, that the sailor, who 'rides on' his ship, should re- 
gard her as feminine. 

We have seen the Horse-God in the form of a Wind- 
or Storm-God, and in that of a Sun-God: we have next 
to meet him in the form of a Water-God, principally a 
Sea-God or River-God. As illustrating this relation be- 
tween Horse and Water it is instructive that Poseidon- 
Neptunus, the creator of horses and discoverer of the 
riding art, was the Sea God. Odin himself often appeared 
as a Water God, under the name of Nikarr; 3 from this 
comes the modern English name for the deVil 'Old Nick', 
and also the fact that St. Nicholas was the patron of 
mariners. 4 It has been supposed that the extensive 
horse-worship in Greece arose as the result of a pun. 5 
The deity Hippa, which signifies the Soul of Everything, 
was derived from the Phoenician Hip, 'the Parent of 
All'. According to Hesychius, hippon means the sexual 
parts of a man or woman, 6 and the deity Hippa was 
therefore represented by phallic symbols. Bryant 7 states 
that Hippa was the same as the Phrygian Cybele, the 
mother-goddess. The name Hippios was applied to 
several gods, e.g. Poseidon and Ares, and the name 
Hippia to several goddesses, e.g. Hera and Athena; in 
fact, at Colonos Poseidon and Athene shared a common 
altar. The confusion between the God Hippios and the 
horse Hippos, however, depended on more than a play 

1 Jahns, op. cit. S. 222, 223; Bd. ii. S. 9. 

2 Grimm, op. cit. Bd. iii. S. 57. 3 Id., op. cit. Bd. i. S. 123. 

4 J. Brand, Observations on the Popular Antiquities of Great Britain, 1849, 
vol. ii. p. 520. 

6 A. Wilder, Editor of R. P. Knight, The Symbolical Language of Ancient 
Art and Mythology, 1876, pp. 79, 80. 

6 It is very interesting that even here hermaphroditism, which is character- 
istic of the whole sexual mythology of the horse, is evident. 

7 J. Bryant, Analysis of Ancient Mythology, 1774-76, vol. iii. 


of words, as did that between the Nightmare and the 
Nightmara, there being many other associations between 
the ideas of deity and horse. 

Everything goes to show that, beyond this idea of 
movement, the actual link between the ideas of Horse 
and Water is the reproductive powers of both. This is 
illustrated in a very large number of legends and beliefs, 
of which a few examples must suffice. 

Jahns 1 writes: 'Im Sanskrit heist das Pferd Sri- 
Bhratri, d.i. Bruder der Sri, der Gottin der Frucht- 
barkeit, weil es gleich ihr aus den Wellen des Meres 
emporgestiegen sei. Im Zend-Avesta der Perser er- 
scheint Anahita, die Gottin des uberirdischen befruch- 
tenden Wassers, mit vier weiszen Rossen/ ('In Sanscrit 
the horse is called "Sri-Bhratri", i.e. brother of Sri the 
Goddess of Fertility, because like her it was born of the 
sea waves. In the Zend-Avesta of the Persians, Anahita, 
the Goddess of the fructifying waters above, appears 
with four white steeds/) In Greece and Rome the horse 
was sacred to Neptune and the Rivers, to which it was 
sacrificed. According to Knight, 2 who regards the horse 
as a symbol of the reproductive powers, the reason why 
the horse appeared on Carthaginian coins was because of 
its association with water. As the figure on these coins 
was surmounted by a winged disc we have here a con- 
densed expression of the three main aspects of the Horse 
God, i.e. the Water God, Sun God and Storm God (flight 
through the air) . It is probably a representation of Saturn 
himself, the chief deity of the Carthaginians, who was 
believed to have appeared in equine guise when he paid 
his addresses to Philyra, the daughter of Oceanus. 3 

Both in India and Greece it was believed that the 
horse's saliva had magic properties, particularly for the 
generating and saving of life two very similar ideas, as 
Rank 4 has well shown. The saliva of the magic Sun- 

1 J^hns, op. cit. S. 272. 2 Knight, op. cit. p. 76. \ 

* Virgil, Georgics, iii. 92. 

4 O. Rank, 'Belege zur Rettungsphantasie', Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, 
1911, Jahrg. i. S. 331; 'Die "Geburts-Rettungsphantasie" in Traum und 
Dichtung', Zeitschriftfur Psychoanalyse, Jahrg. ii. S. 43. 


horse was equivalent to ambrosia and was even identi- 
fied with it. 1 When he was robbed of this salivary 
ambrosia he lost - his strength and died. The Indian 
Acvins were known not only as wonderful riders, 2 but 
as exceptionally skilled physicians. The sons of Aescu- 
lapius, the Father of Medicine, are to be identified with 
the twin Dioscures, the Greek equivalents of the Acrins. 
Ovid, in the second book of the Metamorphoses, de- 
scribes how Ocyrhoe was appropriately transformed into 
a mare as a punishment for predicting that Aesculapius 
would through medical science save mankind from death. 
In short, the fluid issuing from the horse (saliva, urine, 
semen) was regarded as having magical properties in 
respect of life itself; it was the essence of life. 

The f ruitf ulness of the horse itself is chiefly manifested 
by means of contact of his hoof with the earth, a theme 
that has many roots. In the first place, the leg and foot 
themselves symbolize in folklore, as Aigremont has 
amply shown, 3 the male generative organ; this is especi- 
ally likely with the aggressive leg of the horse. Secondly, 
the horse's hoof and shoe symbolize the female organ; 
the curved shape lends itself especially to this identifica- 
tion, which is already common with foot and shoe in 
general. 4 Aigremont traces this latter identification to a 
telluric origin, i.e. to the contact of the foot with the 
mother earth, 5 but there are probably anal-erotic 
elements also at work here. The horse's hoof is therefore 
especially well adapted to symbolize both the male and 
the female reproductive powers. From it may spring 
various forms of life, the two chief being vegetation and 
springs. Borek, Mahomet's silver-grey mare, possessed 
this quality in a high degree, for 'unter deren Fiissen 
empfing selbst der Wiistensand die Eigenschaft, Leben 
zu erzeugen, und verwandelte sich in Gold/ 6 ('Beneath 
its feet even the desert sand acquired the property of 
creating life, and was changed into gold/) This quality 

1 Gubernatis, op. cit. S. 273, 274. a V.s.p. 

a Aigremont, Fuss- und Schuh-Symbolik, 1909, S. 23, 24. 

* Id., op. cit. S. 8, 9, 12, etc, B Id., op. cit. S. 21. 

* J&hns, op. cit. S. 272. Evidently a cloacal motive. 


belongs to human beings and to gods, as well as to horses. 
Aigremont 1 writes: 'Saaten, Blumen, Friichte entspros- 
sen unter den Schritten des segnenden Fusses der Gottin* 
Dieser alte Mythenzug kehrt in Sagen und Marchen gar 
vieler Volker wieder, ist fast Allgemeingut der Mensch- 
heit geworden. Nach der altagyptischen wie indischen, 
nach der romanischen wie deutschen, nach der japani- 
schen wie slavischen Volksanschauung spriessen Blu- 
men unter den Tritten edler Frauen, Koniginnen oder 
verkannter Aschenbrodels hervor/ ('Harvests, flowers, 
fruits sprout and ripen under the tread of the goddess's 
benign foot. This ancient mythological motif recurs in 
the legends and fairy tales of very many nations and has 
almost become the common property of mankind. In the 
popular view of the Old Egyptians as of the Indians, of 
the Romans as of the Germans, of the Japanese as of the 
Slavs, flowers spring forth under the tread of noble 
women, queens or misjudged Cinderellas.') Men, various 
legendary heroes and gods possess the quality equally 
with woman and goddesses, another proof of the herma- 
phroditic nature of foot symbolism. The horses of deities 
and heroes bring the same blessing as they ride over the 
land, and many legends and stories are still believed in 
which tell of the field mare that makes the corn grow. 
Even more frequently than by the growth of vegeta- 
tion is the trampling of horses followed by the issuing 
forth of springs. No better symbol of reproduction could 
be found, for this represents the pouring out of both the 
male principle (semen, urine) and the birth itself (uterine 
water). Both sources of water can be produced in this 
way, the one being on the whole a male process, the 
other a female. The mythical origin of the magical Hip- 
pocrene on Helicon is an instance of both forms. One 
sourceof ittherewasobtainedby astroke of the hoof given 
by the wonderful horse Pegasus (from 77-17777 = spring 2 ), 
the offspring of Poseidon and Medusa. The stroke let 
loose a heavy rainstorm, which gave rise to the spring; 8 

1 Aigremont, op. cit. S. 17, 18. a jahns, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 9. 

Id., op. cit. S. 274. 


the analogy may well be drawn between heavy rain and 
the forcible micturition of the horse, an association 
maintained in many bawdy jokes. It is interesting that 
just like the magic wand, the wishing-rod and other 
similar symbols, the (male) tread of the hoof can dis- 
close precious metals that are hidden in the earth, 1 once 
more a cloacal motif. At times ambrosia itself spurts out 
of the magic horse's hoof, and as we know ambrosia to 
be a symbol for semen this again shows how the leg and 
foot must have a phallic meaning. In the Rigveda 2 we 
read that the Agni, the magic horses, spurted out a 
divine fluid from their forefeet, and that the horse 
which the Acvins presented to the sun-hero filled a 
hundred beakers with intoxicating fluid from his hooves. 3 
In this connection may also be mentioned the following 
facts: Mistletoe, which as a seminal symbol was sacred 
to the horse-worshipping Druids, is a valuable charm 
against the Nightmare. 4 Dew, which has the same signi- 
ficance, 5 dripped from the mane of the Teutonic Night- 
steed (Sleipnir, etc.), and indeed Jahns connects the 
Latin word for this ros with the German Ross* Hair 
itself has several sexual meanings, being indeed biologi- 
cally a secondary sexual characteristic. One that I do 
not remember having been pointed out, but which I have 
several times found during psycho-analysis, is an associ- 
ation with fseces. Indeed, even in connection with horses 
it may be mentioned that the manes of the sacred Teu- 
tonic horses were plaited with threads of gold, and the 
horses themselves were frequently named after this 
characteristic; 7 it was a general superstition in the 
Middle Ages that horse's hair, laid in manure water 
turned into poisonous snakes (cp. Medusa's snake-hair). 
One finds this indicated by Shakespeare: 8 

Much is breeding, 

Which, like the courser's hair, hath yet but life, 
And not a serpent's poison. 

1 jahns, op. cit. S. 283. a Rigveda, vi. 75, 7. 3 Ib., i. 116, 7. 

4 B. Thorpe, Northern Mythology, 1851, vol. ii. p. 30. 

* Abraham, op. cit. S. 63. 6 Jahns, op. cit. S. 280. 

7 Id.,op.cit.S.42i. B Antony and Cleopatra, Act i, Sc. 2. 


The second source of the Helicon Hippocrene was 
through a female process, an underground spring pro- 
duced by Permessos, a River God. Hippocrene itself may 
be translated in German by the names Rossbach (Horse- 
brook), or better M^rbach, 1 two common place names. 
This more usual female process of producing springs is 
described in a number of Teutonic legends, 2 e.g. in re- 
gard to Baldur's steed, Charlemagne's (which gave rise 
to the famous sacred well at Aix), etc. 

It is well known that the mysterious properties of the 
foot have repeatedly been transferred to the shoe, 3 so 
that it is to be expected that the horseshoe would ac- 
quire the significance of the water- and life-giving 
horse's hoof itself. This is so in fact. The wide-spread- 
ness of the belief in horseshoes is as remarkable as the 
manifoldness of its virtues. Aigremont says: 4 'Der 
Glaube an das Hufeisengliick ist liber die ganze Welt 
verbreitet. Alle Rassen und Volker, die den Gebrauch 
der Hufeisen kennen, haben ihn/ (The belief in the luck 
of horseshoes is widespread over the whole world. All 
races and peoples that know the use of horseshoes have 
it/) Horseshoes keep away evil spirits and witches, avert 
the Evil Eye, guard from illness, bring life, prosperity 
and happiness, in short are in every way lucky. It would 
be superfluous to relate any instances for this, 5 for it is 
still one of the most living of beliefs. The favourite 
places to nail a horseshoe are over doors, especially 
stable doors, and on the masts of ships; Lord Nelson had 
one nailed to the mast of the Victory at Trafalgar, and 
Lord Roberts carefully collected them on his South 
African campaign. The belief has been rationalized in 
the most curious ways, such as through its connection 
with the birth of Christ in a stable, etc., but it has many 
times been pointed out that it is the same symbol as 

1 jahns, op. cit. S. 215. 

8 Aigremont, op. cit. S. 16. Jahns, op. cit. S. 274-276. 

* Aigremont, op. cit. S. 45, etc. * Id., op. cit. S. 70. 

6 See Brand, op. cit. vol. iii. pp. 16-18, 25. S. Seligmann, Der Bose Blick, 
Bd. ii. S. 11-13, I2 9- B. Stern, Medizin, Aberglaube und Geschlechtsleben in der 
Ttirkei, 1903, Bd. ii. S. 288, 339. Wuttkje, op. cit. S. 130, and especially 
Lawrence, op. cit. 


appears in the form of the Christian vesica piscis, the 
Cestos of Aphrodite, the magic necklace of Hermania, 
the Nibelung ring, the ship of Isis and Athene, the 
Achaian Argos, Noah's ark, the chest of Osiris, the Holy 
Grail, King Arthur's Round Table, the girdle of Hip- 
polyte, the Order of the Garter (the highest Court 
honour in England), all kinds of magical cups and horns, 
the Egyptian mystical door of life, the religious altar, 
the Yoni of Vishnu, and a host of others; 1 the symbolism 
is quite simply revealed in the German expression for 
defloration, 'Sie hat ein Hufeisen verloren' ('She has lost 
a horseshoe'). It is therefore of especial interest that the 
horseshoe has always been one of the chief charms used 
against the Nightmare; 2 the mind of the people has 
seemed dimly to perceive that, in satisfactory circum- 
stances, the Yoni will better than anything else prevent 
the distressing night visits of the Mara. Of similar signi- 
ficance is the plan of placing the shoes at the side of the 
bed with the toes pointing towards the door; this is evi- 
dently intended for women, and indeed is especially 
efficacious in guarding against the Alp fiend. 3 The 
association between horse and sea is still kept up in 
Italian customs, where the evil eye is averted partly by 
the mano cornuta* and partly by the use of amulets 
representing a mermaid sitting on a centaur. 5 Another 
similar amulet is the hag stone or holy stone, the desig- 
nation holy denoting both its sacred nature and the fact 
that it has been bored (holey); they avert labour pains, 6 
various elves, 7 but especially the Nightmare. 8 Of interest 
in this connection are the lucky snake-stones of various 
countries (Pliny's anguinum), glass rings formed by the 
hissing together of the breath of several serpents, and 

1 See Cox, op. cit. T. Inman, Ancient Faiths embodied in Ancient Names, 
1873. R. P. Knight, A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus, 1863. 

2 Lawrence, op. cit. pp. 90, 95. 

8 Grimm, op. cit. Bd. iii. S. 449. 4 Lawrence, op. cit. p. 12. 

* Seligmann, op. cit. Bd, ii. S. 310. 6 Dalyell, op. cit. p. 140. 

7 Meyer, op. cit. S. 137. 

8 B. Henderson, Folk-lore of the Northern Counties of England, 1879, p. 
166. Lawrence, op. cit. p. 75. Northumberland, Folk-Lore Series, 1903, 
P- 51. 


finally passed like an egg. 1 Without any symbolism at all 
the vulva of the mare itself is used in India to avert the 
Evil Eye, as it was in ancient Rome to make both love 
potions and poisons thus illustrating the characteristic 
ambivalence of the unconscious: it here formed the 
main ingredient of the deadly poison Hippoman. 2 Lastly, 
in this connection may be mentioned that the Irish word 
for vulva is maar, an interesting fact in view of the 
Celtic origin of Mdhre. 

From these considerations it will be plain that the 
Horse's foot is singularly adapted to symbolize both the 
male and female principle, in other words the whole re- 
productive side, or what later ages have chosen to call 
the 'animal side' of our nature. It has therefore become 
a demoniacal attribute in general, and has become at- 
tached to a great number of mythical beings. Even in 
its naked form it has special significance attributed to it; 
thus in the Netherlands a horse's foot is hung up in a 
stable to prevent a Mara or witch from riding the horses. 3 
We find already in Greece that not only were the cen- 
taurs provided with a horse's foot, but also the priests 
who served the oracle at Dodona, and who were called 
Hippodes. 4 Odin himself had a horse's foot, as had 
various other nightly visitors, such as the Pschezpolnica 
of the Wends, the mythical he-goat, and the Alp him- 
self. 5 The shape became influenced by that of the orien- 
tal pentagram; 6 in Croatia the Mora has feet in the form 
of a pentagram. 7 Hence arose the pentagram ('Druden- 
fuss') of Teutonic sorceresses. The mediaeval Devil never 
appeared without his horse's foot, 8 and the witches be- 
came endowed with the same attribute. In modern times 
the expression 'cloven hoof has passed into common 
usage in a metaphorical sense, the most usual connota- 
tion of it being animal or sexual. The fertility concept 

1 J. B. Deane, The Worship of the Serpent, 1833, pp. 260-264. 

F. von Schlichtegroll, Liebesleben im klassischen Altertum, S. 338. 
8 Seligmann, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 129. Thorpe, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 328. 
* jahns, op. cit. S. 271. 

6 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 259. 6 Meyer, op. cit. S. 58. 

7 Krauss, op. cit. S. 148. 8 Brand, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 517. 


of the horse's foot was ingeniously strengthened by the 
Greeks in the following fancy. In a later representation 
of the frightful Medusa (in Aristophanes) she appears, 
not with her usual ass's legs, but with one leg made of 
ore, the other of ass's dung. 1 This connection between 
the ass, the pre-eminently phallic animal, and dung, the 
fertilizing manure, represents a very condensed piece of 

So far we have been considering the urethral-erotic 
elements in the Horse-Nightmare mythology as ex- 
pressed by the connection between the ideas of water 
and fertility. There are several links that enable us to 
pass from this theme to that of the anal-erotic elements, 
since a number of the mythological ideas in question 
receive contributions from both sources. Let us take, 
for example, the ideas investing the sun's rays. We saw 
in the preceding chapter what an important attribute 
they are of the Horse-Sun God, and how the diminution 
in them after the summer solstice was dreaded as a re- 
minder of castration. Here the rays are regarded as a 
symbol of the phallus as well as of semen, and there is a 
considerable series of myths in which they play this 
part so openly as to lead to pregnancy in the virgin on 
whom they fall. 2 Similarly the sun's rays are regarded 
as^a form of fire, and since Abraham's 3 work we are 
familiar with the seminal symbolism of this in mytho- 
logical thought. On the other hand, there is ample evid- 
ence of pregenital factors being at work in the composi- 
tion of this group of ideas. Freud 4 some time ago hinted 
that the infantile and unconscious equivalent of fire is 
urine, and the truth of this has since been fully estab- 
lished. The usual description of the sun's rays as stream- 
ing or pouring rather than as being ejected naturally 
accords better with the analogy with the infantile, pre- 
seminal fluid; it is a parallel to the 'flowing' mane of the 

1 Aigremont, op. cit. S. 25. 

2 See, for instance, E. S. Hartland, Primitive Paternity, 1909, vol. i. pp. 25, 26. 
s Abraham, Traum und Mythus, 1909, Cap. 4. 

4 Freud, Sammlung kleiner Schriften zur Neurosenlehre, 1909, 2e Folge, S. 137. 
[Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. v. S. 267; Collected Papers, vol. ii. p. 50.] 


finally passed like an egg. 1 Without any symbolism at all 
the vulva of the mare itself is used in India to avert the 
Evil Eye, as it was in ancient Rome to make both love 
potions and poisons thus illustrating the characteristic 
ambivalence of the unconscious: it here formed the 
main ingredient of the deadly poison Hippoman. 2 Lastly, 
in this connection may be mentioned that the Irish word 
for vulva is maar, an interesting fact in view of the 
Celtic origin of Mdhre. 

From these considerations it will be plain that the 
Horse's foot is singularly adapted to symbolize both the 
male and female principle, in other words the whole re- 
productive side, or what later ages have chosen to call 
the 'animal side' of our nature. It has therefore become 
a demoniacal attribute in general, and has become at- 
tached to a great number of mythical beings. Even in 
its naked form it has special significance attributed to it; 
thus in the Netherlands a horse's foot is hung up in a 
stable to prevent a Mara or witch from riding the horses. 3 
We find already in Greece that not only were the cen- 
ta.urs provided with a horse's foot, but also the priests 
who served the oracle at Dodona, and who were called 
Hippodes. 4 Odin himself had a horse's foot, as had 
various other nightly visitors, such as the Pschezpolnica 
of the Wends, the mythical he-goat, and the Alp him- 
self. 5 The shape became influenced by that of the orien- 
tal pentagram; 6 in Croatia the Mora has feet in the form 
of a pentagram. 7 Hence arose the pentagram ('Druden- 
fuss') of Teutonic sorceresses. The mediaeval Devil never 
appeared without his horse's foot, 8 and the witches be- 
came endowed with the same attribute. In modern times 
the expression 'cloven hoof has passed into common 
usage in a metaphorical sense, the most usual connota- 
tion of it being animal or sexual. The fertility concept 

1 J. B. Deane, The Worship of the Serpent, 1833, pp. 260-264. 
C. F. von Schlichtegroll, Liebesleben im klassischen Altertum, S. 338. 
Seligmann, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 129. Thorpe, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 328. 
jahns, op. cit. S. 271. 

Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 259. 6 Meyer, op. cit. S. 58. 

Krauss, op. cit. S. 148. , 8 Brand, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 517. 


of the horse's foot was ingeniously strengthened by the 
Greeks in the following fancy. In a later representation 
of the frightful Medusa (in Aristophanes) she appears, 
not with her usual ass's legs, but with one leg made of 
ore, the other of ass's dung. 1 This connection between 
the ass, the pre-eminently phallic animal, and dung, the 
fertilizing manure, represents a very condensed piece of 

So far we have been considering the urethral-erotic 
elements in the Horse-Nightmare mythology as ex- 
pressed by the connection between the ideas of water 
and fertility. There are several links that enable us to 
pass from this theme to that of the anal-erotic elements, 
since a number of the mythological ideas in question 
receive contributions from both sources. Let us take, 
for example, the ideas investing the sun's rays. We saw 
in the preceding chapter what an important attribute 
they are of the Horse-Sun God, and how the diminution 
in them after the summer solstice was dreaded as a re- 
minder of castration. Here the rays are regarded as a 
symbol of the phallus as well as of semen, and there is a 
considerable series of myths in which they play this 
part so openly as to lead to pregnancy in the virgin on 
whom they fall. 2 Similarly the sun's rays are regarded 
as a form of fire, and since Abraham's 3 work we are 
familiar with the seminal symbolism of this in mytho- 
logical thought. On the other hand, there is ample evid- 
ence of pregenital factors being at work in the composi- 
tion of this group of ideas. Freud 4 some time ago hinted 
that the infantile and unconscious equivalent of fire is 
urine, and the truth of this has since been fully estab- 
lished. The usual description of the sun's rays as stream- 
ing or pouring rather than as being ejected naturally 
accords better with the analogy with the infantile, pre- 
seminal fluid; it is a parallel to the 'flowing' mane of the 

1 Aigremont, op. cit. S. 25. 

8 See, for instance, E. S. Hartland, Primitive Paternity, 1909, vol. i. pp. 25, 26. 
8 Abraham, Traum und My thus, 1909, Cap. 4. 

4 Freud, Sammlung kleiner Schriften zur Neurosenlehre, 1909, 2e Folge, S. 137. 
[Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. v. S. 267; Collected Papers, vol. ii. p. 50.] 


Horse-God. Their colour and shining appearance are 
features that aid in this identification, but these features 
evidently have also another pregenital origin, the anal- 
erotic one. Much stress is laid in the'se myths on the like- 
ness of the sun's rays to gold, the most typical uncon- 
scious symbol of faeces, while many stories are related of 
the golden mane of the magic horse and of the night- 
fiend's long tresses being interwoven with gold. As I have 
elsewhere pointed out, 1 the idea of hair itself is very often 
associated in the unconscious with that of faeces, the 
notions of dirt and of perpetually shedding being com- 
mon to both. 2 

Another theme connecting the two pregenital ele- 
ments in question is that of stealing. Stealing in myth- 
ology, as in unconscious phantasy in general, signifies an 
injury, a deprivation or even mutilation, and is ulti- 
mately a symbol for castration. To steal money is to 
perform a pederastic assault money = faeces with a 
castrating motive, hence the neurotic dread of being 
cheated or having even small sums stolen. It is interest- 
ing in connection with the present topic that one of the 
titles of Hermes, whom we have seen earlier to have been 
one of the Greek equivalents of the Horse-God Odin, 
was the Master Thief. Abraham 3 has clearly demon- 
strated the sexual significance of the myth about the 
stealing of fire from heaven, and Hermes himself was one 
of the gods who was supposed to have first brought fire 
to mankind. 4 In mythology we meet the stealing motif 
mainly in the three following connections: (i) Theft of a 
symbol for the genital organ, the most direct of the cas- 
tration themes. The chief examples of this in the present 
circle of ideas are fire, the eye, the hat and the magic 
steed. Several instances of these were recounted in the 
preceding chapter. (2) Theft of a woman. To be deprived 
of the sexual object is often the equivalent of being de- 

1 'Einige Falle von Zwangsneurose', Jahrbuch der Psychoanalyse, 1912, Bd. 
iv. S. 580. 

2 See O. Stoll, op. cit. S. 120-240, for ethnological material amply confirming 
this conclusion. 

8 Abraham, op, cit, S. 31. ' 4 Cox, op. cit. vol. i. p. 120, 


prived of sexuality, i.e. of the genital organ itself. To be 
carried off oneself by the Psychopomp, i.e. parted from 
the loved one, is a variant of this that connects directly 
with the first motif \ as I pointed out earlier, 1 the dread 
of the Nightmare is at the same time dread of castration 
and dread of death. (3) Theft of treasure. This is a much 
over-determined motif. It is often to be equated to theft 
of wife, she being the greatest treasure. As we have just 
seen, however, this does not contradict the meaning of 
theft of penis, particularly as in the unconscious faeces 
( = treasure) is often equated to the penis. And, because 
of the homosexual significance pointed out above, it is 
one of the worst forms of castration, and for this reason 
is an extremely frequent mythological theme. To the 
earlier instances we may add a couple more, which illus- 
trate several of the features to which attention has been 
called. 'Im Elendstale ist eine grosse Klippe, darin wohnt 
eine Jungfer, die zeigt sich zwischen elf und zwolf mit 
einem silbernen Schliissel; wem sie diesen hinhielt, der 
sollte ihn mit dem Stocke nehmen. Das tat ein Kohler, 
da off net en sich durch den Schliissel drei Tiiren, dann 
kam er in eine Hohle, da standen gesattelte Rosse, 
dahinter lag Pfer demist. Er musste sich da von mit- 
nehmen, als er aber iiber eine Briicke ging, schiittelte 
er ihn ins Wasser, da klingelte er und war Gold/ 2 ('In 
Elendstal is a high cliff where there dwells a maiden. 
She shows herself between eleven and twelve 3 with a 
silver key, and whoever she offers this to should take it 
with his stick. A certain charcoal-burner once did this 
and the key opened three (!) doors through which he 
came into a cavern (!) where there stood saddled horses 
with dung behind them. He had to take away with 
him as much of this as he could, and as he crossed a 
bridge he showered it into the water where it jingled 
and turned into gold. 1 ) 'Vor der verbotenen Kammer 
fand der Knabe eine Pfiitze voller Gold, tauchte den 
Finger darein und verband ihn mit einem Stiickchen 

1 Part III. pp. 255, 265. 
8 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 144. 8 The regular night-fiend time. 



Zeug. Als der Drakos aufwachte und den Verband sail, 
musste jener ihn abnehmen, da war der Finger vergoldet; 
der Drakos packte ihn nun und tauchte ihn ganz in die 
Pfiitze, und davon ward er am ganzen Leibe golden/ 1 'In 
einer mahrischen Variante ist der Knabe zum Warter des 
Rosses bestellt, aber er soil sich vor einem gewissen 
Brunnen hiiten; als er dennoch den Finger eintaucht, 
entsteht plotzlich ein goldner Ring, den er nicht ab- 
machen kann; er verbindet den Finger, aber sein Herr 
bemerkt den Verband, nimmt ihn den Ring ab und 
wirft diesen in den Brunnen. Ehe er dann mit dem Rosse 
flieht, taucht er auf dessen Rat den Kopf in den Brun- 
nen, sein Haar wird golden, und er stiilpt eine Kappe 
dariiber/ 2 ('Before the forbidden door the youth found a 
puddle of gold; he dipped a finger into it and bandaged 
it over with a piece of cloth. When the dragon woke and 
caught sight of the bandage he made the youth take it 
off and, behold, the finger had changed into gold. 
Whereupon the dragon caught hold of him and dipped 
him into the puddle until his whole body was golden/ 
'In a Moravian variant the youth has the post of watch- 
ing the horse, and he has to guard himself against a 
certain well. But he plunged his finger into it and found 
a ring appear, which he could not dislodge from his 
finger. He bandages his finger, but when his master sees 
it, he takes the ring away and throws it into the well. As 
he then bolts with the (magic) horse he follows his ad- 
vice and plunges his head into the well, whereupon his 
hair turns to gold and he claps his cap over it/) The 
Furious Host of Odin emerges from the hollow of a 
mountain; 3 those who care for the horses when they 
are within the mountain receive as a reward the horse- 
dung and hoof-clippings, both of which then turn to 
gold. 4 

Another allied theme with condensed symbolism is 
that of the horse's ears. To begin with these can be 
phallic symbols, as with the magic U&aihcrava, Indra's 

1 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 147. 2 Id., op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 147. 

8 Meyer, op. cit. S. 241-244. 4 jahns, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 335. 


steed, whose name signifies simply 'erect ears 1 . 1 Then the 
orifice of the ear is an unconscious equivalent of the 
anus, hence the conception of a rich man with horse's 
or ass's ears (Midas, etc.). It is associated at this point 
with birth phantasies, as in the legend of the conception 
of Jesus through the ear. 2 In the following Russian tale 
there is a combination of incest and homosexual themes, 
whereby the youth wins the king's daughter. Ivan, the 
youngest and stupid brother, has the most worthless 
horse of the stable. He creeps into one ear and out by 
the other. On this two young riders ( = the Dioscori) 
appear and transform his horse into a wonderful steed 
with a mane and tail of gold. By its help he performs 
marvellous feats, and wins the Czar's daughter. 3 

The Wind God was the first of the triad of divine 
guises in which we met the Horse God, and we have 
now to investigate the mundane origins of this concep- 
tion. The emanation of a gaseous fluid from the body is 
a process which has greatly influenced the imagination 
of mankind and has stimulated some of the most exalted 
ideas. On the physical plane it assumes various forms, 
although there are only two gases emitted from the body 
expired air and flatus. There is the breath, the voice 
and minor respiratory phenomena (sneezing, etc.). The 
act of speaking becomes identified in the unconscious 
with that of thinking, and the very invisibility of all 
these acts strengthens the idea of power with which for 
more reasons than one they are invested. Nor is the idea 
of fertility lacking. We need not recount the endless be- 
liefs, from the first chapter of Genesis onward, in which 
the idea of the Creative Breath or Divine Spirit plays a 
central part. Now in the course of my psycho-analytical 
work I have come across the curious phantasy that the 
act of procreation may consist in the passage of flatus 

1 Gubernatis, op. cit. S. 223. 

2 See Ernest Jones, 'Die Empf^ngnis der Jungfrau Maria durch das Ohr: 
Ein Beitrag zu der Beziehung zwischen Kunst und Religion'. Jahrbuch der 
Psychoanalyse, 1914, Bd. vi. S. 135. ['The Madonna's Conception through the 
Ear. A Contribution to the Relation between Aesthetics and Religion', Essays 
in Applied Psycho-Analysis, 1923, ch. viii. p. 261.] 

8 Gubernatis, op. cit. S. 229. 


from one body to another, 1 and I have elsewhere shown 2 
that this notion unconsciously plays an important part 
in far loftier contexts. The intense repression to which 
early interest in flatus is later subjected makes it intel- 
ligible that it can manifest itself in later life principally 
in disguised forms, one of the chief being a transference 
upwards that goes to strengthen the natural interest in 
respiratory and allied processes. Particularly the notion 
of action at a distance, or of peculiar powers of searching 
and penetrating in the manner of a gas, receives much 
from this deep source. 

It is of interest here to note that the Vedic equivalents 
of the Greek Centaurs were the cloud-maidens called 
Gandharvas, 3 and it has been thought that the two 
words are etymologically related. 4 The latter is cognate 
with gandha, which means 'evil smell'. Now evil smells 
were one of the means of protection against the Night- 
mare, and certain inferences are legitimately to be 
drawn from this. Charms against the Nightmare or 
night-fiend are characteristically symbols of the part 
of the body where the attack is feared. Most of these 
charms, therefore, are genital symbols, knife, broom, 
horseshoe, and the like. The following account has to 
be read in conjunction with this general law: 'Die 
Masuren empfehlen als Mittel wider die Mahrte, sich auf 
den Bauch zu legen: wenn dann die Zmora kommt, den 
Schlafer nach ihrer Gewohnheit zu kiissen und zu lecken, 
und merkt, dass sie nicht das Gesicht kiisst, wird sie 
argerlich und geht davon (Toeppen). Wer die Mura von 
sich abhalten will, lege sich ein mit Menschenkot be- 
st richenesTuch auf dieBrust, rat en die Tschechen (Groh- 
mann); oder auch, man esse vor Schlafengehen ange- 
rauchte Gerichte, am besten angerauchte Milch (Ebt). 
In diesen Angaben scheint sich der eigentliche Grund zu 
verraten, warum die Logik des Volksglaubens darauf 

1 Ernest Jones, Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, Jahrg. i. S. 566. 

2 Ernest Jones, 'Die Empfangnis der Jungfrau Maria durch das Ohr', 
loc. cit, 

8 Cox, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 35. 

4 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 314. 


verfiel, stark duftende Blumen oder Kummelbrot fiir 
ein Schutzmittel zu halten/ 1 (The Masurians recommend 
as a protection against the Nightmare to lie on one's 
belly. When the Mara comes to kiss or lick the sleeper 
according to her custom and notices that she is not kiss- 
ing the face, she gets angry and departs. To keep the 
Mara away one should lay on one's breast a towel 
streaked with human faeces, so the Czechs advise; or before 
going to sleep one may eat highly seasoned dishes, best 
of all milk with a stench of smoke. We seem to divine 
in these data the real reason why the logic of popular 
belief came to the idea that strongly smelling flowers or 
carraway bread were excellent means of protection/) In 
an Oldenburg legend the Alp, instead of sticking his 
tongue into the sleeper's mouth or creeping into it in the 
form of a snake two common enough habits blows 
into it. 2 The source of his blowing is seen in another, 
Hessian belief, according to which 'riihren die Sumpf- 
ausdiinstungen davon her, dass der Alp fistet' 3 ('the 
stenches of marshes come from the flatus of the night 
bogey'). We have remarked above on the association 
between water and generation, and also called attention 
to the connection between the words marsh, Welsh 
march, and German Mahre. It is therefore quite fit- 
ting that Odin and Poseidon, the Gods of Horses and 
Water, should also be specially Wind or Storm Gods. 
The importance of wind for fertility was briefly touched 
on above, and I suspect that the infantile theory here 
indicated has played a large part in this connection. The 
act of passing flatus is so evident with horses that it is 
not surprising to find how many beliefs there are about 
their being fertilized by the wind. We need only recall 
the classical instances of this belief being held in respect 
of the mares of Boetia, 4 Cappadocia 5 and Lusitania. 6 
We may also mention that Aeolus, the West Wind who 

Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 342, 343. 

Strackerjan. Quoted by Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 42. 

Wolf. Quoted by Laistner, op. cit. Bd. i. S. 314. 

Virgil, Geovgics, iii. 266-276. 

St. Augustine, Civ. Dei. t xxi. 5. 6 Pliny, Hist. Nat. viii. 67. 


impregnated Ocyrhoe, who was also called Hippe 
(=mare), had another title Hippodates. 1 

It is well known how often the sexual act is conceived 
of as simply a 'finding out' process, and so becomes con- 
nected with knowledge and wisdom; one has only to re- 
call the regular Old Testament use of 'to know a woman' 
to denote sexual intercourse, and the fact that the snake 
is everywhere a symbol of wisdom and other things (cp. 
the tree of knowledge in Eden). An instance in connec- 
tion with horses well illustrates this: 'Nicht selten trifft 
das Hervorrufen der Quelle durch Rosseshuf mit dem 
Weissagen durch Rossestritt zusammen. Es ist gewisser- 
maszen, als beginne der Bronn der Weisheit zu flieszen. 
Auf dem Kirchhof zu Bergkirchen trafen einmal zwei 
Briider im feindlichen Kampfe zusammen. Der eine 
erkannte den andern und rief ihm zu: "Ich bin dein 
Bruder." Der andere glaubte ihm nicht. Aber sein Pferd 
traf, als der Zweifelnde zum Kampf ausprengen wollte, 
den Stein mit dem Hufe; siehe da sprang ein Quell 
empor. Die Warheit war erwiesen und die gliicklichen 
Briider bauten zum Andenken Bergkirchen/ 2 ('It is not 
rare for the evoking of springs by a horse's hoof to be 
accompanied by predicting through the horse's tread. 
It is as though knowledge began to flow from the foun- 
tain. In the churchyard at Bergkirchen two brothers 
once met in a deadly fight. The one recognized the other 
and called out to him "I am your brother". The other 
did not believe him. But as the doubter sprang forward 
once more into the fight his horse struck the stone with 
his hoof and, behold, a spring gushed forth. The truth 
was demonstrated, and in memory of the miracle the 
brothers built Bergkirchen/) Therefore a form of sexual 
act that denotes penetration at a distance can also be 
symbolized as knowing from afar. And in fact we read 
of Odin the Horse and Wind God that: 'er fahrt in 
Augenblicken in die fernsten Lander und weiss, was hier 
geschieht/ 3 ('In a moment he travels in the most distant 

1 jahns, op. cit. S. 264-265. 
8 Id., op. cit. S. 275-276. 3 Mogk, op. cit. S. 44. 


lands and knows what happens there/) This rapid pene- 
tration at a distance becomes transferred from the idea 
of space to the allied one of time; hence such gods, and 
especially horse gods, can read the future. Thus Odin 
'besitzt prophetische Gaben und kann die Menschen 
Vorzeichen und Zukunft lehren'; 'als geheimnisvoll 
fliisternder und auf- und abrauschender Windgott weis- 
sagt er, ist runen-, zauber- und sangeskundig/ 1 ('pos- 
sesses prophetic gifts and can instruct mankind in 
auguries and in the future'; 'as the secret whispering 
and rustling Wind God he predicts, has a knowledge 
of runes, of magic and of song/) He could not only 
read thoughts, like the clever Hans, but could also 
solve riddles; in fact, 'der Ratselkundige' was one of his 
titles. 2 

We shall confine our instances of the present topic to 
horses. The transference of the ideas connected with 
flatus to the subject of breath and voice is peculiarly 
easy in the case of the horse, whose neighing is evidently 
a sexual process and has hardly any other biological 
significance. Jahns remarks: 3 'Da der Hengst ganz vor- 
zugsweise dann wihert, wenn er den Trieb zur Begat tung 
empfindet, Zeugungskraft und Lebensfiille dem Lichte 
aber ebenso eng verbunden sind, wie Unfruchtbarkeit 
der Finsternis und dem Tode, so muste auch aus solchen 
Griinden das mutige Gewiher als gutes Omen gelten. 
In welcher bedeutungsvollen reichen Mannigfaltigkeit 
der Volksaberglaube dise Anschauungen weitergebildet, 
bis in die Neuzeit bewart und zumal um die heilige Zeit 
der *Z wolf ten gruppirt hat, werden wir ausfiirlich an 
anderen Stellen besprechen/ ('Since a stallion chiefly 
neighs when he feels the impulse to copulate, and since 
procreative capacity and the sense of life are as closely 
associated with the idea of light as barrenness with that 
of darkness and death, we have the reason why a lusty 
neigh counts as a good omen. In what rich and manifold 
significance the popular belief has elaborated this con- 

1 Meyer, op. cit. S. 233. 
8 Jahns, op. cit. S. 299. a Id., op. cit. S. 269. 


elusion, how it has preserved it into modern times and 
especially connected it with the holy Twelfth Night, we 
shall presently show at length/) Though the horse as a 
whole and individual parts in particular has gener- 
ally been regarded as connected with good luck, 1 evi- 
dently on account of his sexual significance, this applies 
more to his neighing than to any other attribute. 2 The 
Teutonic races paid the greatest attention to it, divining 
future events from the different intonations; 3 and both 
the Persians 4 and the Irish decided the choice of their 
king from the omen thus obtained. The predicting 
function of neighing is referred to in numerous myths 
and folk-lore tales. 5 One instance may be given indicat- 
ing the sexual significance of the act: 'Madchen reiten 
wol auf einem Besen(!) bis an die Tiir des Pferdestalls 
und horchen. Wihert ein Ross, da kommt die Magd bis 
Johannis in die Ehe, hort sie dagegen die laute Blahung 
eines Pferdes, so musz sie im kommenden Jahre Kind- 
taufe geben one einen Mann zu haben/ 6 ('Girls ride on a 
broomstick to the door of the stable and listen. If a steed 
neighs it means she will be married before Midsummer 
Day, but if she hears only the flatus of a horse she will 
bear a child in the coming year without being married/) 
It is interesting that Brand derived the word 'witch' 
from the Dutch witchelen = neighing, on account of the 
foretelling capacity of both. 7 This is not strictly true, for 
witch comes from the Anglo-Saxon wicca* which is 
cognate with Middle Dutch wicker, 'a soothsayer', and 
Low German wikken, 'to predict' (allied to wissen), but 
it is possible that the two may ultimately have a com- 
mon origin. 

From neighing it is only a step to speaking. And myth- 
ology and history are full of accounts of speaking horses, 

1 Lawrence, op. cit. ch. xi. 

Grimm, op. cit. Bd. iii. S. 442, Nr. 239. 

Lawrence, op. cit. p. 73, quoting Tacitus. 

Grimm, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 549. 

Wuttke, op. cit. S. 219. Jahns, op. cit. S. 423. 

jahns, op. cit. S. 295. 
7 Brand, op. cit. vol. iii. p. 2. * Skeat, op. cit. p. 719. 


which need not here be detailed; 1 speaking is also closely 
connected with prophesying. According to Jahns, 2 
'zunachst war es die wirkliche Stimme des Pferdes, die 
als weissagerisch gait. 6ffentlich lauschte der Priester 
dem Orakel der Pferde, die dem Volke als Vertraute und 
Mitwiszer der Gotter erschienen, warend er selbst nur 
ihr Diener war/ ('At first it was the actual voice of the 
horse that was regarded as foretelling. The priest pub- 
licly listened to the oracle of the horses, for they seemed 
to the people to be the initiates and confidants of the 
gods, whereas he himself was only their servant/) Speak- 
ing is obviously connected with declamation and oratory, 
the beginning of poetry, therefore the man with best and 
finest flow of words carried fame. We can now under- 
stand why one of the descendants of Odin was called 
Ruprecht (glittering with fame), and why Odin was the 
god of song and poetry, which he discovered. 'Daher 
heisst die Poesie die Gabe, der Trank Odins und der 
Dichter der Mettrager Odins. Denn ein Trunk von dem 
Dichtermete machte einen gewohnlichen Sterblichen 
zum Dichter, und dieser Dichtermet befand sich in 
Odins Bewahrung. Diese Auffassung vom Dichtermet 
ist relativ Jung: der Lebensmet Odrerir ist zum Dichter- 
met geworden/ 3 ('Hence poetry is known as the gift, the 
drink of Odin's, and the poet the mead-bearer of Odin's. 
For a drink from the poetic mead makes an ordinary 
mortal into a poet, and this drink was in Odin's keeping. 
This conception of poetic mead is relatively recent: the 
life-giving mead Odrerir has become the drink of poets/) 
This reminds us that it was a horse, Pegasos, who gave 
Hippocrene to the world on Helikon, the mountain of 
the Muses. 

In connection with the words Mare and Mdrchen 
it might be added that the idea of bringing news is 
obviously connected with the ideas both of finding 
out knowledge and of passage through the air. 

1 Cox, op. cit. vol. i. pp. 247, 391. W. Hertz, Der Werwolf, 1862, S. 67, etc. 
Jhns, op. cit. S. 264. 

a Jahns, op. cit. S. 269. 8 Mogk, op. cit. S. 46. 


Hermes, often regarded as an equivalent of Odin, 
was at once the Wind God and the God of messages, 
and it will be remembered that news was daily brought 
to Odin by two ravens, 1 birds 2 which Laistner has 
brought into the circle of the sexual Nightmare beliefs. 3 
We may close this section by quoting the following 
interesting passage from Jahns, 4 which illustrates many 
of the points brought out above: 'Ebenso spiegelt sich 
bis heut die Bedeutung des Sonnenrosses in der Sprache. 
Nicht nur Schimmel zeigt genau denselben Stamm wie 
Schimmer, auch das Wort Mdhre diirftein lezter Instanz 
von dem altdeutschen Adjektive mar, d.i. "glanzend", 
abstammen, eine Herkunft, welche der friiher gegebenen 
Deutung durch Bewegungsbezeichnungen keineswegs 
widersprache, da auch "glanzen" ebenso wie z.B. 
"blizen" und "blinken" auf eine Bewegungserscheinung 
zuriickfiirt. Jene Etymologie empfilt sich iiberdis durch 
eine Parallele mit dem Sanskrit. Wie mar hat namlich 
die Sanskritwurzel har den Sinn von "glanzen". Zwei 
bekannte Derivata diser Wurzel, hdri und har it, sind aber 
die gebrauchlichsten Bezeichnungen der Sonnenrosse in 
den Veden, welche somit genau so gebildet sind wie 
unser Wort Schimmel. Endlich spricht fur jene Ab- 
leitung des Wortes Marhe auch noch der Umstand, dasz 
das gleichklingende deutsche Mare (Mdrchen), das 
islandische mdrd, d.i. "Loblied", das gothische merjan, 
d.i. "verkiindigen", ebenso von dem glanzbedeutenden 
mar zu stammen scheinen, wie z.B. aus der Sanskrit- 
wurzel ark, d.i. ''glanzen/' das Wort arkuh, d.h. "Licht," 
aber auch "Loblied", hervorgegangen ist. Auch das 
althochdeutsche Wort Hrosa bedeutet sowoldie "Stute" 
als die "Rumtragerin", die "Fama'Y (The significance 
of the Sun-Horse is still mirrored in our language. Not 
only does the word Schimmel ( = white horse) show 
just the same root as Schimmer (= gleam), but even 
the word Mdhre ( = mare) must ultimately be derived 

1 Mogk, op. cit, S. 49. Wuttke, op. cit. S. 17. 

8 For the sexual significance of birds that bring news, etc., see Abraham, 
op. cit. S. 29, 30. 

8 Laistner, op. cit. Bd. ii. Kap. 51. ' * Jahns, op. cit. S. 248-249. 


from the Old German adjective mar, i.e. shining. This 
source in no way contradicts the interpretation we 
gave earlier in terms of movement, 1 since glanzen ( = to 
shine) itself, as well as blizen ( to glitter) and 
blinken ( = to dazzle) go back to the phenomenon of 
movement. This etymology is supported by a parallel 
with Sanscrit. Just as mar, so has the Sanscrit root har 
the sense of "shining". Now two well-known derivatives 
of this root, hari and harit, are the most usual designa- 
tions of the Sun steeds in the Vedas, so that these are 
formed in just the same way as the German word 
Schimmel. Finally, in favour of this derivation of the 
word Mdrhe speaks the further circumstance that the 
similarly sounding German Mare ( = tale), from which 
comes Marchen ( = fairy-tale) , the Icelandic mdrd ( = song 
of praise), the Gothic merjan ( =to foretell), all seem to 
come from the mar ( = shining), just as the word arkuh 
( = light, and also song of praise) comes from the San- 
scrit root ark (=to shine). The Old High German 
word Hrosa meant "mare" as well as "the bearer of 


The data just brought forward should enable us to 
solve what is perhaps the most puzzling riddle in this 
whole group of mythical beliefs, and one which if solved 
should illuminate the general question of the connection 
between the Horse and the Nightmare mythology. I 
refer to the fact, for which ample evidence has been 
adduced above, that the two attributes of the horse 
which primarily appealed to the mythopoeic imagination 
are its glistening appearance and its capacity for swift 
movement. The latter is intelligible enough, for the 
movement of the horse is not only a striking, but also 
its most useful, attribute. But what is to be made of the 
other? The glossy appearance of a well-groomed charger 
is doubtless a pleasing feature, but that this should 
have been selected as one of the two most important 

1 See Part III. p. 251. 


attributes of the horse, the one that mainly enabled it 
to be identified with the sun itself, can hardly be called 
very comprehensible. 

Let us first consider the movement attribute more 
closely. Although, as was remarked, the actual fact of 
movement is important enough in itself, it is easy to 
show that the idea has been extensively sexualized and 
that the part it plays in mythology is due to the way 
it has been exploited in this sense. It is not unnatural 
that swift movement is in a general way to be equated 
with the idea of potency; indeed a good part of the 
ambitions of modern civilization illustrates this truth. 
But psycho-analysis is able to show the specific manner 
in which this association is formed. As I have pointed 
out earlier in a clinical connection, 1 the potency in 
question is a pregenital one; it is based on a very early 
association between the ideas of movement and of ex- 
crementitial performances, one easily illustrated by the 
fact that ''movement" and ''motion" are even in adult 
years still the commonest phrases used to designate the 
act of defecation. This association, of which one gets 
ample proof in the course of psycho-analytical work, is 
perhaps most readily demonstrated in cases where the 
patient is one of those motorists that may be called 
speed-maniacs, i.e. where the act of fast driving is not 
so much a pleasure as an indispensable necessity the 
thwarting of which is unbearable. 

I have the impression that, although this association 
is certainly forged with all the three acts of excretion, 
it is the urinary one that contributes the most charac- 
teristic elements. If we study the ideas surrounding the 
procreative powers of the horse, which we have seen to 
be the central source of the mythological interest in the 
animal, we note at once that they especially cluster 
around the association between Horse and Water, and 
this in spite of the fact that horse-dung so far surpasses 
its urine in fertility value as to be still a serious rival to 
the most elaborate form of artificial chemical fertilizers 

1 Part II. p. 208. 


of soil. I am referring here not simply to the obvious 
features of the erotic centaurs and kelpies, but especially 
to the fact that the creation of growth, vegetation, etc., 
is plainly to be equated to the striking of springs; from 
the horse, particularly from his hoof, spurts forth am- 
brosial fluid with these magical powers. Now water is 
everywhere connected not only with fertility, but also 
with the idea of movement; that the Latin aqua and 
equus are both derived from the same Sanscrit root 
meaning movement is highly characteristic of this group 
of associations. The three movements of which water is 
capable are identified with three aspects of the sexual 
act: (i) undulation with riding and therefore with the 
movements of coitus, (2) spurting or issuing forth with 
the emission of semen, and (3) flowing with the pre- 
seminal, i.e. infantile, act of urination. 

This dissection of the components of the sexual act 
may be used as a scheme for purposes of orientation in 
the mass of data I have presented above. First let us 
distinguish between the to-and-fro movements of coitus 
and the final act of emission. The former belong much 
more to the adult, genital level of development, and they 
are essentially represented in the horse mythology as 
has been expounded above at length by the act of 
riding, of course a bisexual act. The emission belongs to 
both the adult and the childhood stage of development, 
with the characteristic difference that in the former it is 
a spurting act (semen) and in the latter much more a 
flowing act (urine). Movement in general, and riding in 
particular, thus represent the sexual conception of the 
horse in mythology, the former more on the infantile, 
the latter on the adult plane. The former is mainly 
derived from interest in the horse's very visible and 
notable excretory performances, perhaps the urinary 
one most of all. To sum up these conclusions I would say 
that what attracted the unconscious, and therefore the 
mythopceic, imagination in the idea of the horse was the 
pleasure that could be obtained from riding him, and 
the interest in his procreative powers, especially as 


exemplified in infantile terms by his remarkable ex- 
cretory performances which became identified with the 
general idea of movement. 

Let us now return to the other, more enigmatic 
attribute, that of shining. The etymological data already 
quoted 1 above suggest an equivalency between the ideas 
of shining and moving, dissimilar as these are in our 
consciousness, and in my opinion this is a clue that pro- 
vides an answer to the riddle. The solution I would 
propound is that the curiously excessive interest in the 
supposed shine or gleam of the horse is derived from the 
same source as that in movement, i.e. from interest in 
the horse's reproductive-excremental performances, par- 
ticularly that of urination. It is certainly striking that 
the whitish-yellow colour of horse's urine is paralleled 
by the colour of the symbolic objects to which the 
attribute of shining is ascribed: the milk-white magic 
steed, the golden mane, and the pale yellow rays of the 
sun, whose equivalency to flowing fire (in the uncon- 
scious: urine) was pointed out above. The equivalency 
of shining and moving is especially clear in the Horse- 
Sun group of beliefs; 'golden movement' sums up the 
essence of the conception. Lightning itself, the sexual 
symbolism of which Abraham has demonstrated, was 
always regarded mythologically as the rapid 'movement' 
of the gods. 2 What I regard as a decisively confirmatory 
piece of evidence in favour of the conclusion just reached 
is the fact that the same verb in German strahlen 
denotes both the staling of a horse and the process of 
shining; incidentally, the substantive Strahl also has 
the meaning of 'arrow', 'pike', 'lightning', 'glistening', 
'glittering', 'radiating', 'gleaming', etc.; thus being an 
essentially masculine word. It is hardly possible that 
this could be so if there were not some instinctive, 
though unconscious, tendency in the popular mind to 
forge an association between the two ideas. 3 Both the 

1 Part III. pp. 314, 315. * jahns, op. cit, S. 281! 

8 It is curious how the word Strahl adheres to ideas connected with horses. 
Strahlkrankheiten means 'diseases of the horse's hoof, the word Strahl being 
applied to the radiating lines of the hoof. 


glittering and the swift horse, therefore, fundamentally 
signify in mythology the potent urinating horse. 

By pursuing the various ideas in horse mythology we 
have been able to establish the closest parallelism be- 
tween them and those belonging to the night-fiend. 
We have seen in the extraordinarily rich sexual sym- 
bolism of the horse not only that experiences derived 
from anxiety dreams transformation of human into 
animal, flight by night, etc. run through the whole of 
horse mythology, but that this mythology is connected 
point by point with the corresponding myths of the 
night-fiend. In the terror of the night attack, whether 
of fiend as such or fiend in equine guise, we find exten- 
sive evidence of the dread of castration and of death, 
the plainest indication of the sensations of coitus and 
emission, and the characteristic propensity to sex inver- 
sion. All the beliefs about the Nightmare, in whatever 
guise, proceed from the idea of a sexual assault which is 
both wished for and dreaded. We have seen, in short, 
that the expression Nightmare signifies something other 
than a mistake in spelling. 



IN Part II. we investigated the relations between the 
Nightmare and certain mediaeval superstitions. In the 
present Part we have investigated those between it 
and the mythology of the Horse. If our reasoning is 
sound it should be possible to point out connections 
along the third line of the triangle, i.e. between the 
mythological beliefs about the Horse and those belong- 
ing to the superstitions considered in the preceding Part. 


The Incubus and Succubus represent simply one 
variety of night-fiend one modified by religious in- 
fluences. In essence they are the familiar Alp and Mara. 
To detail the resemblances between the beliefs about 
them and those of the Night Horse, therefore, would be 
merely to repeat the preceding chapters. The same 
features recur throughout both sets of beliefs: the 
agonizing terror, ultimately of castration and death, 
accompanied by the sensation of something pressing (or 
trampling) on the breast, the erotic ideas based on 
repressed incest wishes, the oscillation between the 
divine and the demonic; even the feature so character- 
istic of the Horse myths, the close association with 
water, is found with both, for Grimm 1 has pointed out 
the habitual way in which night-fiends, i.e. Incubi, 
frequent marshes and other watery loci; the name of the 
river Marne, for instance, is cognate with the Norwegian 
morn, one of the varieties of the mara words. 2 

Perhaps the most interesting connection between the 
two is the following set of Scandinavian customs and 
beliefs. One of the recognized ways of guarding against 

1 J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 1835, Bd. ii. S. 849, 850. 
* Wolf von Unwerth, 'Eine isiandische Mahrensage', W drier und Sachen, 
hulturhistorische Zeitschrift fur Sprach- und Sachforschung, 1910, Bd. ii. S. 182. 



the mar a, in Mecklenburg, Tirol and elsewhere, was to 
put a horse's skull on the roof of the house or if horses 
were in danger of being 'ridden' by her in the manger. 1 
Now in Jutland it is reported that when this was not 
effective a horse was buried alive to achieve the pur- 
pose, 2 and there is little doubt that this must be a relic 
of an old sacrificial custom. In olden times, therefore, 
horses were probably sacrificed both to the Horse-God 3 
and to the female Night-Fiend, two beings the close con- 
nection between whom we have amply established. It is 
not long since a horse's penis used to be preserved by 
Norwegian peasants as a specially treasured heirloom, 4 
and this also must belong to the same cult. An old Ice- 
landic legend relates how a particularly terrible mara, 
when exorcised by a bishop, turned into a horse's bone. 5 
It is thus clear that originally the equation warn = mare 
was taken literally, so that to sacrifice a horse was to 
kill the fiend herself and at the same time to propitiate 
her along the typical totemistic lines. 

The belief that the Mara was wont to change herself 
into a mare, usually a white one, when visiting men at 
night, i.e. the belief that the Nightmare was a mare, is 
to be found in various parts of Europe. 6 


In the respective chapters on these beliefs we expati- 
ated on the extensive interchangeability of the two, so 
that they may be considered here together. With them we 
have the motif of transformation into animal that is so 
prominent a feature of Horse mythology, but which is 
by definition excluded from the Incubus group. That of 
sucking, the hall-mark of the Vampire, is in the nature 
of things absent from the Horse group of beliefs and the 

1 J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 46 Ausgabe, 1876, S. 550, 1041. 

2 E. T. Kristensen, Danske Sagn, 1892, vol. ii. pp. 105, 251. 
a See Part III. p. 262. 

4 A. Heusler, 'Die Geschichte vom Volsi, eine altnordische Bekehrungsanek- 
dote', Zeitschrift des Vereins fur Volkskunde, 1903, S. 24, 28. 

5 Unwerth, op. cit. S. 163. 

Cp., for instance, F. S. Krauss, Slavische Volkforschungen, 1908, S. 148. 



oral-sadistic one of biting, which is distinctive of the 
Werewolf, plays a less important part though it does 
occur than might perhaps have been expected; it is the 
horse's hoof, not his teeth, that is the feared weapon. 
Equally prominent with all these, however, is the part 
played by the idea of death. We have laid such stress on 
this in the respective chapters that we need here only 
bring to mind the psychopompic function of the ghostly 
Werewolf and the Hell horse in relation to the close con- 
nection between the Werewolf belief and the Wild Hunt 
more characteristic of the Horse. 1 The same is true of the 
Night-flight theme, on the importance of which in all 
Nightmare beliefs we have repeatedly laid stress. Then 
the beliefs enumerated earlier 2 which connect the Were- 
wolf with the wind and sun are throughout parallel to 
those of the Horse and Wind- or Sun-God. 

Apart, however, from the fundamental underlying 
themes of incest and terror, it is noteworthy how the 
beliefs in question are connected even in minor super- 
ficial details. Thus, for example, the evil number seven 
partly connected with the fear of precocious birth, i.e. 
in the seventh month 3 keeps recurring in the various 
beliefs and stories. The mythical horse of the Hun- 
garians, Tatos, was born in the following curious way. 4 
The hero carried a five-cornered black egg under his arm 
for seven summers and seven winters; on the appro- 
priate Ash Wednesday the steed came to the world, 
without a chin but with teeth. It will perhaps be remem- 
bered that a child born with teeth is prone to become a 

If a Kelpie, i.e. a Scotch centaur, have intercourse 
with a woman, the seventh child will belong to the 
water, 6 presumably becoming a Kelpie himself. We have 
learnt earlier that a seventh child is likely to become a 
Nightmare an Alp if male, a Mara if female a Vam- 
pire or a Werewolf. 

1 See Part II. p. 146. 2 Part II. p. 134. 3 Eight months' children are rare. 
4 A. de Gubernatis, Die Thieve in der indogermanische Mythologie, 1874, 
S. 222. 

6 A. Wuttke, Der deutsche Volksaberglaube der Gegenwart, 1900, S. 50. 


If a woman creeps through a horse-collar so as to 
secure an easy childbirth, the baby will be a Mara. 1 If for 
the same purpose she creeps through a mare's caul, her 
child will be if male a Werewolf, if female a Mara. 2 If a 
man creep through a girdle of skin he will become a 
Werewolf. 3 


Being male, the Deyil is naturally the equivalent of 
the Horse God rather than of the Night Mare, and in the 
chapter concerned with him I have dealt fully with the 
themes of sexuality, incest and castration that we have 
just seen to underlie the beliefs about the Horse God. 
Not only so, however, for the mediaeval Devil was a 
direct descendant of the Teutonic Horse God, Odin, and 
inherited a number of his personal characteristics. Per- 
haps the best known of these was his horse's hoof, the 
presence of which betrayed him on so many occasions. 
In numerous legends and sagas he appears in actual 
horse guise. 4 Usually this is for the purpose of conveying 
someone, as, for instance, the famous Dietrich, to hell. 
Sometimes a troop of black horses carried off the souls 
of the damned to hell, 5 an idea which is an almost direct 
representative of the psychopompic Furious Host of 
Odin. An English demon known as Grant, doubtless a 
descendant of the Teutonic Grendel, used to appear in 
the form of a foal. 8 

The Teutonic Wunschross, the magic steed who en- 
abled one to fulfil all one's wishes, also contributed a 
good deal to the mediaeval conception of the devil. This 
of course was in the form of temptation; Jahns 7 gives 
numerous examples of this, including stories of Charle- 
magne and Heinrich der Loewe. In a Norman legend 
there is a neat combination of this theme and the pre- 
ceding one: a black horse appeared to a priest, on New 

1 Part III. p. 249. 2 B. Thorpe, Northern Mythology, 1851, vol. ii. p. 169. 
8 Part II. p. 139. 4 Grimm, op. cit. Bd. ii. S. 831. 
* Ibid. Ibid. 

7 M. Jahns, Ross und Reiter in Leben und Sprache, Glauben und Geschichte 
der Deutschen, 1872, Bd. i. S. 355. 


Year's Day, 1091, and by offering him temptations 
induced him to mount on his back, whereupon he sprang 
with him straight to hell. 1 

In these stories we note again the curious interchange- 
ability of horse and rider. Often the Devil is a horse, 
often he simply rides on a horse. The women he used to 
visit during sleep complained that they had been 'rid- 
ing', or else 'ridden on', the whole night long. In France 
the concubines of priests turned into mares after they 
died and were called 'les juments au diable'. 2 

The last trace of the horse identification was the foot, 
which still remains as an attribute of the Devil. Numer- 
ous legends end by triumphantly asserting 'And there in 
the rock is the mark of the Devil's hoof left to this day'. 
Here again tfre same interchangeability is in play, for 
sometimes the mark is left by the Devil himself, some- 
times by his charger. 


Here also I need not recapitulate the fundamental 
themes common to the two sets of beliefs, for they are 
dealt with at length in the respective chapters, and will 
confine myself here to a few more external considera- 
tions. To begin with is the striking fact that sexual 
dreams, with emission, used to be referred to in English 
both as 'mare-riding' and as 'witch-riding', where the 
equivalency of Witch and Mara is expressed directly. 
It is implied also in some of the tests for Witches, which 
at the same time illustrate the transformation theme 
(human into animal). Thus when a Witch changes her- 
self into a mare, 3 and the mare is shod, the woman is 
found to have horseshoes on her hands and feet. 4 Again 
a Witch can be detected by burning the shoes of any 
horse she has bewitched, for this causes her great pain 

1 Gubernatis, op. cit. S. 226. 

8 Part III. p. 250. 

* A belief still cherished in Baltic countries, notably Mecklenburg (jahns, 
op. cit. Bd. i. S. 413). 

4 E. Meier, Deutsche Sagen, Sitten und Gebrduche aus Schwaben, 1852, 
S. 191. 


in the feet. 1 Here the Witch is identified with her victim 
(on whom she has ' ridden'), and one is reminded of the 
following interesting totemistic identification in the 
same context. 

In ancient European times, particularly among the 
Teutonic races, it was customary to sacrifice horses, the 
sacred animals, to the gods, and hand in hand with this 
went, as is usual in such rites, the taboo of eating horse- 
flesh one which lingers in rationalized forms to this day. 
Now one of the horrible things of which Witches were 
accused was the eating of horse-flesh, thus violating this 
taboo. Boguet, 2 for example, in describing 'qu'il y avait 
une grande chaudiere sur le feu, dans laquelle chacun 
alloit prendre de la chair 1 , expressly adds, 'que la chair 
n'est autre que de cheval'. If one thinks of the extensive 
part played by horses in the same ceremonies, the pre- 
liminary rides (men being often converted into horses 
for the purpose), the making music on horses 1 heads, the 
appearance of the Devil in the form of a horse (often 
carrying the Witch thus), mounted on one, or at least 
with a horse's foot, the custom of drinking out of horse's 
hooves (hence harking back to the ancient Aryan source 
of ambrosia), one must conclude that we have to do here 
with relics of pagan beliefs of great antiquity in which 
there is a close association between horses and super- 
natural beings with alarming nocturnal activities. 

One need not again insist on the extensive part played 
by the idea of riding in the whole Witch superstition, one 
derived exclusively from experiences with horses. Even 
the favourite day for the Witches' Sabbath, May i, was 
a day sacred to the Horse God, Odin, and one when the 
nocturnal procession of his army took place. In fact, the 
ghostly troops of Witches riding and hurtling through 
the air are plainly descendants, though with partly in- 
verted sex, of the old Wild Hunt and Furious Host. 

1 J. G. Dalyell, The Darker Superstitions of Scotland, 1835, pp, 323-324. 
1 Henri Boguet, Discours des sorciers, 1603, pp. 82, 83. 




"^ HE mythological data brought forward in the pre- 
ceding chapters have shown the close parallelism 
between beliefs about the Horse and those 
about the Night Fiend, and psycho-analysis has enabled 
us to penetrate to the common origins of both in the re- 
pressed infantile sexuality that is the ultimate source of 
Nightmare experiences. In this chapter I propose to 
bring forward an extract of the extensive etymological 
data bearing on the two words 'mare' and 'mara', the 
psychological connections of which have been shown to be 
astonishingly close, and to attempt to show that psycho- 
analysis can also make contributions which may assist ety- 
mologists in the solution of some of their own problems. 
The problem I select to illustrate this thesis is as 
follows. The word ' mare ' is certainly the Anglo-Saxon 
mere, feminine of mearh = horse. In Old High German 
the corresponding words were respectively meriha 
or merha, and marah, mark or marcha. The oldest 
sources of this word actually known are the Teutonic 
marhja (feminine of mar ha) and the Celtic marka. The 
word was thus mar followed by either an aspirated or a 
guttural palatal, which, incidentally, is preserved in the 
corresponding modern word only in the valley of the 
upper Adige. Etymologists have, in accordance with 
known laws, to assume an origin in an Old Teutonic and 
general European mark-as. 1 This root, however, has 
not been demonstrated in these languages nor in the 
still earlier Indo-Germanic, and its further connections 
are therefore a matter for conjecture only. We have 
mentioned earlier two or three suppositions of Jahns on 
this point, though apparently etymologists have not 

1 See, for instance, W. W. Skeat, Etymological Dictionary of the English 
Language, 1910. 




taken them very seriously. I hope to give reason for 
thinking that, with certain modifications, his supposi- 
tions have a certain basis of truth, and also to show that 
psycho-analysis can help to solve problems of this order. 

Before attempting this, however, I shall have to 
establish a basis on what appears to be quite different 
ground, and I propose to do so by turning attention to the 
etymology of the other word that interests us here, 
mara, the night-fiend who is responsible for the second 
half of 'Nightmare'. This word can be traced to an ex- 
tremely ancient Old Teutonic source, and there is no 
doubt about its being derived from a still older one. The 
primitive language which philologists have recon- 
structed under the name of Indo-Germanic (or, better, 
Indo-European) contains a large number of allied words 
the ultimate source of which is a primordial MR root. 
The study of the genealogical trees proceeding from this 
root is a most fascinating one, 1 but I shall here consider 
only a small extract which is cognate to our present theme. 

The consonantal sound M was variously combined with 
five others, all linguo-palatal sounds, D y R,L, K, G, so as 
to create nine distinct roots. From these a very large 
number of individual words were formed, but we are con- 
cerned here only with the roots themselves; the accom- 
panying diagram will make it easier to grasp the various 


The primordial combination of them was in all pro- 
bability MR, usually as MAR, occasionally as MER. 

1 The works most useful in this study are: H. Betchtold-Staubli, Hand- 
worterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, 1927. P. Ehrenreich, Die allgemeine 
Mythologie und ihre ethnologischen Grundlagen, 1910. A. Pick, Vergleichendes 
Worterbuch der indogermanischen Sprachen, 30. Aufl., 1874. Wolfgang Golther, 
H andbuch der germanischen Mythologie, 1895. J. Grimm, Etymologisches W drier - 
buch, 1854-1911. Merker, Reallexicon. A. Schrader, Reallexicpn der indogerman- 
ischen Altertumskunde, 1901. Skeat, op. cit. A. Walde, Lateinisches etymologisches 
Worterbuch , 1910. 


This had three chief sets of meanings, here given in 
order of their antiquity: the first two are to be traced 
to the Indo-European, the third to the European 
Division only. 

(1) A. To rub on, bray, gall, grind, crush, in- 
jure; B. to wear away, exhaust, consume; C. to weaken, 
soften, soak (e.g. to dip bread in a liquid). 

From A come the following words. The 'mare' of 
Nightmare. This, which literally means 'a crusher', is 
cognate with the Anglo-Saxon verb merran (Old 
High German marrjari), to obstruct, impede, vex, 
and hence to dissipate, exhaust, waste; from it comes 
also 'to mar'. Its Middle Dutch equivalent man en 
signifies both to hinder, to injure and to bind, to 
fasten (whence our words 'to moor' and 'marline'), 
the latter meaning being also that of the Indo-Ger- 
manic root Mu. Anyone who has had to treat cases 
of Nightmare or what is much the same thing 
dread of nocturnal emissions will agree that the con- 
notations just mentioned are peculiarly appropriate. 
In Old Teutonic both the male and female night-fiend 
were designated by the word maran. Further, the 
words 'mortar' (what is ground or the object in which 
it is ground), the Greek ^, to fight (literally 'to 
rub against'), and the Latin martulus (Teutonic 
marta, a hammer), whence the cognomen Charles 
Martel, all come from this MAR (i) A. root. 

From B come, through the Greek, 'amaurotic' 
(blind) from marva=soit, and 'moron', of feeble 
intelligence (mar a = stupid). 

From C come papal, to weaken, to wear out; the 
Anglo-Saxon mearu, tender, pliable (also from mar* 
va =soft); and the Latin mereo, I earn (literally, get 
a share), whence merenda and the German dialect 
Mahrte (Old High German meriod), both meaning 
an afternoon meal, and our 'merit', 'meritorious', 
'meretricious' (harlot -like), etc. 

(2) To die, to be ruined. Here we get through Ger- 

CH. V 


manic the word 'murder'; through Latin 'mortal', 
'mortify', etc.; through Greek 'ambrosia' (= im- 
mortal); and the Welsh maru, dead. 

An interesting group here originates in the early 
designation particularly by peoples without ex- 
perience of tides of all water other than running 
water as 'dead'. Hence the Gothic marei, sea or lake 
(the Germans still employ one word, See, for both), 
Sanscrit mwa, ocean, Old Teutonic mari, sea, Latin 
mare, Welsh mor, and the modern words 'mere', 
'marsh' ( = mere-ish), 'moor', 'marine', 'maritime', etc. 

(3) To gleam, mar a, pure; Latin merus, clear, 
whence 'mere-ly'. 

The meaning seems to have diverged in the one 
direction via the Let to-Slavonian mar a, connoting 
'news' (whence the German Mdrchen = fairy-tale), 
and in another towards such ideas as 'celebrated', 
whence the title 'Waldemar', the town 'Weimar', etc. 
Perhaps the difference is simply that between 'known' 
and 'well known', both of which can for instance, in 
the German bekannt be designated by one word. 
The German mar, dear (like Mdr-chen, from the 
Middle High German maere), presumably comes from 
the closeness of the ideas of familiarity and loveable- 

MR was readily replaced by ML, more often as MEL, 
less often as MAL. The inter-changeability of R and L 
is very familiar to philologists; examples in the present 
context are: marva, malva, soft; mard-, maid-, to 
become soft; marg, malg, to stroke. An amusing ex- 
ample of the reverse process is furnished by the word 
'marmalade'; the first part of this conies from mar via 
med and Latin met, the word itself signifying 'honey- 
apple' or quince, but the Portuguese, who first made the 
concoction (from quinces), changed it back again from 
mal to mar. One surmises that the change to L denotes 
a certain softening of the ideas thus conveyed, such as 
a change from 'grind' to 'pound', etc., but even though 


this conclusion may be generally correct there are cer- 
tainly exceptions to it. The words derived from this root 
may be roughly grouped according to the predominant 

(1) To pound: 'mallet', (Pall) 'Mall' (Latin malleus). 

(2) To grind: cp. Old Irish molim, I grind. 'Mould' 
(=*soil, not 'to mould'), 'mole', 'meal', 'millet', 
'muller' (stone used for grinding powder). 'Mill', 
'molar', from Latin. 

(3) To dissolve: 'malt', 'melt', 'milt', Old Norse 
melta, to digest. 

(4) To soften: 'mild', 'mauve' (the colour of mallow), 
'mallow', 'mal-achite' 'mulch' (wet straw). Lithuanian 
melas, dear. Russian miliui, kind. 'Mildew', 'melli- 
fluous', 'molasses', from Latin mel (= honey) cp. 
Teutonic melitha and Old Irish mil = honey. 

(5) (As mal.) To besmear, to blacken: 'melanotic' 
(also Christian name 'Melanie') from the Greek. 
'Malice', 'malign', etc., from the Latin mains, evil. 
Cornish malan, the devil. 

The combination with D appears also to exercise a 
certain softening influence. MAD (Sanscrit madliri), 
meant sweet or loveable, and from it (via medhu, 
honey) comes our honey-drink 'mead'. MELD corre- 
spondingly means 'to soften', 'to dissolve'. 'Mild', from 
^/mel, may have been influenced by it, and we have 
'mollify', 'mollusc', 'to moil', via the Latin mollis, soft. 
MARD, on the other hand, though it also meant to 
soften, had the harsher connotations of 'to grind/ 'to 
pound', 'to bite', 'to weary of '. 'Mordant', 'mordacity', and 
'morsel', from the Latin mordere, 'to bite'. This root 
was also intensified by an initial s, which the Latin lost. 
Incidentally, the root mar was similarly intensified, e.g. 
Sanscrit smr = remember, long for; the initial 5 has 
been lost in our 'mourn' and 'martyr' derived from it, 
but retained in 'smart', in the German Schmerz pain, 
and in the Kashube Zmora * mara, night-hag. M ard 

CH. V 


is almost certainly an earlier root than Meld- y which was 
probably formed from it by modification. 

The fundamental root was also extended by adding 
one of the posterior linguo-palatals, K or G. MAK meant 
'to pound', and via the Latin we have from it the word 
'to macerate'. MARK proved to have a specially fruitful 
growth. It has three fairly well defined sets of meanings. 

(1) To injure. 'Marcescent' from the Latin mar- 
cere, to wither. 

(2) To grasp: then to stroke, to beat, to punish. 
From this we get diverse words as 'mulct' (cp. Lat. 
mulcere, 'to stroke'; mulcare, 'to punish by beating'), 
'morphia', 'morphology', 'merchant', 'market', 'mer- 
cenary', and the French merci, English 'mercy'. 

(3) To stroke, to soften, to soak. Cognate with the 
Gothic marka, border, we get 'margin', 'mark', 
(Welsh) 'marches' and the 'Merse' division of Berwick- 
shire. The 'softer' meaning changed the form of the 
root to malg, which we shall consider presently. The 
root MARG y or merg, closely allied to this group, 
signified to rub or stroke, and doubtless influenced the 
form of some of its derivatives, e.g. 'margin'. 

In accord with a suggestion proffered earlier we find 
that the rootMELG, 'to stroke', has blander connotations 
than those of MARK or MARG. From it are derived, 
by very different routes, 'milk' and 'emulsion'. 

This condensed extract will be enough to indicate how 
extraordinarily prolific the MR root has proved to be, a 
feature which in itself, as Sperber 1 has pointed out, is 
highly characteristic of roots having originally a sexual 
signification. In the present instance it would not seem 
too venturesome to divine what this must have been. 
If one reviews the various groups of meanings mentioned 
above it becomes fairly plain that the original meaning 
must have referred to two ideas, that of some act and 

1 H. Sperber, 't)ber den Einfluss sexueller Momente auf Entstehung und 
Entwicklung der Sprache', Imago, 1912, Bd. i. S. 405-453. 


that of the consequence of it. (i) The act was primarily 
to rub on, up or against, and this then diverged into a 
more and a less sadistic group. The former may be 
described by the words to pound, grind, crush, injure, 
bite, beat, gall, oppress; the latter by the words to/ bind 
together, grasp, stroke. (2) The consequence of the act is 
indicated by such words sometimes active, sometimes 
passive as to die, ruin, exhaust, weaken, make tender 
or pliant, soften, smear, dissolve, dissipate, consume. 
It would be fair to take as representative of these two 
ideas the words to rub hard and to be softened respec- 
tively, which is near to what Fick 1 considers to be the 
original meaning of the whole root, viz., to rub on, to 
exhaust, to wear oneself out. We have here an un- 
mistakable allusion to the act of masturbation, one the 
psychological significance of which is throughout identi- 
cal with that of the Nightmare experience: incest guilt, 
nocturnal experiences, sadism, dread of castration or 
death, and so on. 

This conclusion would appear to be so irrefragable 
that one is tempted to inquire further into the very con- 
stituents of the roots in question. Very little work has 
been done on the psychological significance of individual 
sounds. The best-known point to be established is the 
sucking and maternal associations of the consonantal 
sound M. This is the least variable basis of what we may 
call the MR roots, for the only circumstance in which it 
is replaced by another labial, J5, is in the reversal of R 
and its vowel so irksome to philologists. I may cite two 
examples in the present context, one being the transfor- 
mation of the Indo-Germanic mar, 'to die', into the 
Greek /3poro9, a mortal (the earlier popros being still 
extant in dialect form), and that of the Indo-Germanic 
mardu, soft, into the Greek fipaSfa, slow, Latin bardus, 

In the set of roots we have been considering the sound 
M then allies itself to one or another of the linguo- 
palatals R, L, D, K, G. Of these the most important is 

i Op. cit. Bd. iii. S. 716. 

CH. v THE MR ROOT 333 

probably R, for on its presence or absence would appear 
to depend whether the signification arising belongs re- 
spectively to the more or to the less sadistic groups men- 
tioned above. That a psychological problem lies here has 
been perceived by a recent philologist: 1 'Was zunachst 
den Anlaut betrifft, so ware es interessant und wie e$ 
scheint, auch bedeutungsvoll, das Verhalten der Sprachen 
in Bezug auf den Liquida-Anlaut zu untersuchen. Eine 
grosse Anzahl von Sprachen konnen namlich entweder 
kein r oder kein /, oder keines von beiden im Anlaut 
halt en. . . . Jedoch scheint es fast sicher zu sein, dass 
derlei Beschrankungen des Anlautes nicht primarer, 
sondern sekundarer Natur sind, dass die Sprachen der 
alteren Kulturkreise sowohl r als / im Anlaut an- 
standslos gebrauchen.' ('As for the initial sound it would 
be interesting, and apparently also very important, to 
examine the behaviour of languages in respect of the 
liquid initial sounds. For a considerable number of 
languages are not able to use either r or /, or neither, 
as an initial sound. . . . Nevertheless it seems almost 
certain that such restrictions are of a secondary, not a 
primary, nature, and that the older languages un- 
reservedly employed both r and / as an initial 

One of the Vedic strophes 2 designed to facilitate the 
flow of speech when recited has as its theme the ejacu- 
latory and fertilizing powers of Indra's twin steeds. The 
letter r appears in every word of the strophe, which 
largely consists of a play on the words varsh and vrish, 
signifying both 'to ejaculate' and 'to fertilize'. In 
Piedmont there exists, or did exist until lately, a 
drawing-room game at weddings in which each guest 
had to describe the gift he intended to make the bride; 
but in doing so he had to avoid all words containing 
the letter r, otherwise he paid a forfeit. 3 In other words, 

1 P. W. Schmidt, Die Sprachfamilien und Sprachenkreise der Erde, 1912, 
S. 289. 

8 Rigveda, v. 36, 5. 

8 A. De Gubernatis, Die Thiere in der indogermanische Mythologie, 1874, 
S. 273. 


the r-sound connoted something which a guest did not 
give or do to a bride. 

The two instances just quoted are broad hints of how 
the popular mind unconsciously conceives of the r- 
sound in a sexual sense, and this would seem to be borne 
out by the non-European meaning of the root ar fire 
and Ra = God. I would suggest, however, that the con- 
siderations adduced above, among others, indicate a still 
more specific original signification of the r-sound, 
namely, a sadistic one and particularly an oral-sadistic 
one. [Some support for this suggestion is afforded by 
JespersenV observation that the sound is connected 
with the rougher side of maleness, and that it becomes 
softened when submitted to the refining influence of 
femininity. He writes: There is one change character- 
istic of many languages in which it seems as if women 
have played an important part even if they are not 
solely responsible for it: I refer to the weakening of the 
old fully trilled tongue-point r. I have elsewhere (Fone- 
tik, p. 417 ff.) tried to show that this weakening, which 
results in various sounds and sometimes in a complete 
omission of the sound in some positions, is in the main a 
consequence of, or at any rate favoured by, a change in 
social life: the old loud trilled point sound is natural and 
justified when life is chiefly carried on out-of-doors, but 
indoor life prefers, on the whole, less noisy speech habits, 
and the more refined this domestic life is, the more all 
kinds of noises and even speech sounds will be toned 
down. One of the results is that this original r-sound, 
the rubadub in the orchestra of language, is no longer 
allowed to bombard the ears, but is softened down in 
various ways, as we see chiefly in the great cities and 
among the educated classes, while the rustic population 
in many countries keeps up the old sound with much 
greater conservatism. Now we find that women are not 
unfrequently mentioned in connection with this reduc- 
tion of the trilled r\ thus in the sixteenth century in 
France there was a tendency to leave off the trilling and 

1 O. Jespersen, Language: Its Nature, Development and Origin, 1922, p. 244. 


even to go further than to the present English untrilled 
point r by pronouncing z instead, but some of the old 
grammarians mention this pronunciation as character- 
istic of women and a few men who imitate women 
(Erasmus/ 'mulierculae Parisinae"; Sylvius/ 'mulierculae 
. . . Parrhisinae, et earum modo quidam parum viri"; 
PiUot, "Parisinae mulierculae . . . adeodelicatulaesunt, 
ut pro pere dicant pese"). In the ordinary language there 
are a few remnants of this tendency; thus, when by the 
side of the original chaire we now have also the form 
chaise, and it is worthy of note that the latter form is 
reserved for the everyday signification (Engl. chair, seat) 
as belonging more naturally to the speech of women, 
while chair e has the more special signification of "pul- 
pit, professorial chair". Now the same tendency to 
substitute z or after a voiceless sound s for r is 
found in our own days among the ladies of Christiania, 
who will say gzuelig for gruelig andfsygtelig iorfrygtelig 
(Brekke, Bidrag til dansknorskens lydloere, 1881, p. 17; 
I have often heard the sound myself). And even in far-off 
Siberia we find that the Chuckchi women will say nidzak 
or nizak for the male nirak "two", zerka for rerka 
"walrus", etc/ 

There is almost within our own experience a set of 
considerations in English history which strongly con- 
firms Jespersen's argument about woman's influence on 
the r-sound. As has been well expounded recently by 
Wingfield-Stratford, 1 the outstanding cultural feature 
of the mid-nineteenth century was the refining influence 
that women, among whom the young Queen played a 
not inconsiderable part, exerted on the Englishman 
whose coarseness and brutality had been a by-word in 
Western Europe in the immediately preceding genera- 
tions. This influence often assumed forms that to us 
appear grotesque, and one of these. concerns the present 
theme. Some of us are old enough to recall traces of a 
dying fashion in speech which was admirably repre- 
sented on the stage in The Barretts of Wimpole Street. 

1 E. Wingfield-Stratford, The Victorian Tragedy, 1930. 


I refer to the taboo that over-refined people put on 
the r-sound, which had to be replaced by w. 1 Those 
who witnessed that play will have no doubt about the 
ultra-feminine, and indeed effeminate, nature of this 
taboo, and those who were not so fortunate may be con- 
vinced by the following passage from the preface to J. 
M. Barrie's Dear Brutus: 2 'There remains Lady Caro- 
line Laney of the disdainful poise, lately from the enor- 
mously select school where they are taught to pronounce 
their r's as w's\ nothing else seems to be taught, but for 
matrimonial success nothing else is necessary. Every 
woman who pronounces r as w will find a mate; it appeals 
to all that is chivalrous in man/] 

If we inquire further into the physiological associa- 
tions of the sound in question, it is not hard to see that 
they are characteristically those of anger and fear. Trill- 
ing was in all probability originally derived from the 
rumble of a growl, and one feels instinctively the onoma- 
topoeic appropriateness of the Teutonic marren, to 
growl like a dog, and the German murren, to grumble. 
Jespersen 3 remarks about palatal sounds, 'it is strange 
that among an infant's sounds one can often detect 
sounds for instance, k y g, h, and uvular r which the 
child will find difficulty in producing afterwards when 
they occur in real words, or which may be unknown to 
the language which it will some day speak', and one may 
very well ascribe this phenomenon to the influence of 
early repression. On the other hand, the snoring and 
choking rumbles so characteristic of deep sleep dis- 
turbed by anxiety dreams both in childhood and in adult 
life, and of Nightmare experiences in particular, origin- 
ate equally in anger (repressed sadism) and in fear. 
* * * # # 

After this excursion into the ultimate source of the 
linguistic expressions for the experience of Nightmare, 
we may return to the question raised at the beginning of 

1 w is naturally the easiest substitute for r, employed, for instance, by 
children and by those adults usually women who never achieve a mastery 
of the harder sound. 

1 Uniform edition, p. 7. 3 Jespersen, op. cit. p. 106. 

CH. v THE MR ROOT 337 

this chapter, namely, the etymology of the other 'mare'. 
The masculine form of this in Old Teutonic was marha, 
in Keltic marka, in Old High German mark, marcha. 
The feminine was in Old Teutonic marhja, in Old 
High German merhd, the subsequent vowel change to 
Modern German mdrhe and English 'mare' presumably 
indicating the feminine gender. A synonym of the mar 
root discussed above was in Old Teutonic marja, and 
the question is whether the word 'mare' ultimately be- 
longs to the Mar group or to a separate and entirely 
unknown root. 

The word cannot actually be traced further back 
than what I have just stated. There is, however, a 
variety of ways in which philologists obtain help in these 
difficult problems. Their knowledge of the laws relating 
to sound change such as, for example, the well-known 
laws of Grimm on the shif tings that have taken place 
between English and German enables them to infer 
what form a given word must have taken in another 
language, even when there is no documentary proof of 
this. Often, again, comparison with allied or intermedi- 
ate languages will furnish data of value. An example of 
this may be quoted from the present context: the fact 
that the Lithuanian melzu means both 'to stroke' and 
'to milk' shows the identity of the Old Teutonic malg, 
'to milk', with the Indo-Germanic marg, 'to stroke'. Now 
the general probability is certainly in favour of the view 
that the 'mare' word is in some way related to the Mar 
group, i.e. that the Old Teutonic marhja and marja 
could not be entirely unconnected; the addition of an 
aspirate, palatal or guttural, to the mar stem is so fre- 
quent or manifold that one is very inclined to regard the 
marcha (male horse) as one more example of it. 

Can psycho-analytical considerations throw any 
further light on this obscure problem: for instance, by 
suggesting the unknown point at which the horse word 
may have broken off from the main group? Jahns 1 

1 M. Jhns, Ross und Reiter in Leben und Sprache, Glauben und Geschichte 
der Deutschen, 1872, S. 12. 




insists, from Celtic and Wallachian analogies, that the 
idea of movement was inherent in the early meaning of 
the word, and further, basing himself on Max Miiller's 
Sanscrit studies of the same conception, 1 that the idea of 
shining (sun = horse's head, rays = mane) was equally 
implicit, the latter connection going back directly to 
mar No. 3 =to gleam. Against the first argument may 
be brought forward the fact that, with a very few insigni- 
ficant exceptions (e.g., Greek pdpyos, wandering, and 
ftapyiTtis, a tramp), the vast number of words derived 
from the mar group can hardly be said to have much 
to do with movement in the ordinary sense: to grind or 
crush does, it is true, imply violent action, as does the 
trampling of horses, but hardly movement in the sense 
generally connoted in horse mythology, namely, of 
swift transit through space. And as to the second argu- 
ment it brings one against the difficulty, not mentioned 
above, of understanding how the mar No. 3 ('to shine') 
is connected with the other meanings of the root. It is 
thought to be the same word as the other mars, though 
this is not absolutely certain, but 'to shine and 'to rub' 
or 'grind' seem very disparate ideas. 

At this point I would recall the detailed considera- 
tions adduced in Chapter III which indicated the very 
definite conclusion that the idea linking the two out- 
standing equine attributes in mythology, namely, 
movement and shining, must have been a primitive 
interest in the horse's urinary feats as signs of an ad- 
mirable potency. If this conclusion has any bearing on 
the etymological problem of the 'mare' word, it would 
be that the point of departure of the word from the 
mar group should be sought rather among those de- 
rivatives which denote what we called above 2 the conse- 
quences of an act rather than among those denoting the 
act itself. For urination could only be the consequence 
of a preceding act, i.e. the result of the infantile mastur- 
bation that lies behind the Nightmare experience; it is 
to be equated to the 'softening', 'dissolving' idea. And 

1 Jahns, op. cit. S. 249. * Part III. p. 332. 

CH. V 


it would follow that the mar No. 3 would itself also repre- 
sent a specialization of this second 'consequence' half 
of the total primary conception, as mar No. 2 (='to 
die 1 ) evidently did. 

If future philological researches confirm the neces- 
sarily tentative hypothesis just mentioned, one might be 
able to consider a psychological suggestion on the whole 
importance of the horse mythology in its relation to 
Nightmare beliefs. This is that it ultimately represents 
a huge compensation for the fears of ' softening' and loss 
relating to the Nightmare emissions. For the attribute 
of exceptional potency is unmistakable in the horse 
mythology. And that ideas of fame, praise and admira- 
tion are among the chief derivatives of mar No. 3, a 
feature Jahns 1 illustrates in connection with the horse 
beliefs of both Europe and India, would be quite in 
accord with this general tendency. 

1 See Part III. p. 313. 




IF by 'scientific' materialism is meant the tendency 
to discount the significance of mental and spiritual 
experiences, to displace the psychical by the physical, 
then the history of the Nightmare affords one of the 
most impressive examples of its darkening counsel. Un- 
til this tendency manifested itself, in relatively recent 
times, no sharp distinction had been drawn between the 
voluptuous and the fearful experiences of sleep. Both 
were equally ascribed to the activity of supernatural 
beings, and even in medical circles the same names, In- 
cubus, Ephialtes, were used to designate both. Writers 
had repeatedly observed that the series of voluptuous 
voluptuous-fearful fearful in dream life was of an 
unbroken gradation, and daily clinical experience amply 
confirms this. The typical Nightmare is merely one ex- 
treme member of this series. It was Freud who first 
demonstrated the inherent connection between intra- 
psychic dread and repressed sexual impulses, and we 
can now understand the Nightmare as an event in which 
such impulses have been overwhelmed, and shrouded, by 
extreme fear. The intensity of the fear is proportionate 
to the guilt of the repressed incestuous wishes that are 
striving for imaginary gratification, the physical counter- 
part of which is an orgasm often provoked by involun- 
tary masturbation. If the wish were not in a state of 
repression, there would be no fear, and the result would 
be a simple erotic dream. The real cause of the Night- 
mare has thus two essential attributes: (i) it arises from 
within, (2) it is of mental origin, a sexual wish in a state 
of repression. Except for the repression this statement 
is true also of erotic dreams. 

This formula, however, is accepted nowhere outside 
the circle of psycho-analysis, neither for the erotic nor 
for the Nightmare dream, i.e. the two extreme members 
of the series referred to above. The history of the 



explanations proffered for these two types of dream is in- 
structive. Until the advent of modern science the second 
feature mentioned above, the mental and sexual origin, 
was universally accepted as the explanation of both 
dreams, but the first feature, the endogenous origin, 
was denied. Since that advent this second feature has 
been discarded and the first feature installed as the 
full explanation. I suggest that both explanations are 
equally imperfect, though I shall give reasons to think 
that the older, popular 'superstitious ' one was nearer 
to the truth than the later 'scientific' one. 

The account just given of the history* of the matter 
needs to be slightly amplified to make it more com- 
prehensible. In the popular view erotic dreams were 
supposed to be brought about by the sexual wishes of 
lewd demons: in the current 'scientific' or rather 
medical view they are supposed to be produced by 
excessive physical tensions in the sexual apparatus. In 
the popular view Nightmares were similarly sexual as- 
saults on the part of lewd demons, strongly resisted 
by the victim (an attitude corresponding to what 
we now term 'repression'): in the current medical view 
they are ascribed to physical disturbances in the ali- 
mentary, respiratory or circulatory system, disturbances 
of either an irritating nature, such as undigested food, 
or of a mechanical nature, such as a distended stomach. 
With erotic dreams the medical view dates from the 
twelfth century, and began to prevail over the popular 
view in the seventeenth. With the Nightmare it was 
foreshadowed by classical medical writers (Galen, etc.), 
but began to prevail over the popular view only in the 
eighteenth century. The view presented in this book, 
which fuses the two others, was hinted at by Thomas 
Nashe in 1594 and Splittgerber in 1860, but was scien- 
tifically established by Freud only at the beginning of 
this century. The sexual origin of the Nightmare, like that 
of Hysteria, both well known until the knowledge of it 
was blotted out by the 'scientific materialism' in its 
anti-psychological sense of the past two hundred years, 



had to be discovered afresh in the twentieth century 
and, appropriately enough, by the same man. 

Both the old popular view and the current medical 
one agree in one fundamental respect, namely, in de- 
vising an explanation for erotic dreams as well as for 
the Nightmare that divests the subject of any personal 
responsibility for his nocturnal erotic experiences. Both 
invoke the mechanism of projection for their purpose: 
the one projects the agency on to the outside world of 
spirits, the other on to inanimate processes in the body. 
Of the two the popular view retained both the psycho- 
logical and the sexual elements, and was thus nearer to 
the truth, particularly in the case of the Nightmare, than 
is the present-day medical view. It was an advance to 
discard the belief in spirits and demons, but a retro- 
gression to discard the psychical and erotic, for the 
supernatural beings at least possessed these attributes. 
For thousands of years the forces of internal repression, 
i.e. fear, made use of the supernatural projection to 
guard man against too near an insight into his own 
nature. When this defence began to fail 'scientific' 
materialism came to the rescue, but this has delayed 
th advent of psychological truth only for a couple of 
centuries, and the obstacle it interposes will not be so 
formidable as the 'spiritual' one. 

Turning now to the influence of these nocturnal 
experiences on various conscious beliefs, we note a 
similar dawning of truth which is at last emerging into 
light. Here, however, the institution that retarded 
the recognition of the truth was, not the medical pro- 
fession, but the Church. After broad hints from earlier 
times, suppressed by the obscurantism of the Middle 
Ages, extensive evidence has accumulated during the 
past century that goes to show how potent has been the 
influence of dreams, and particularly of terror dreams, 
in the elaboration of various beliefs. This is most easily 
recognized with suchj superstitions' as the idea of fabu- 
lous or disreputable supernatural beings, of human 
beings being transformed into animals, of night journeys 


through the air, of animals being identified with the 
spirits of the dead, i.e. of ancestors, and of the great 
revenant belief in the return of the departed. Psycho- 
analysis of dreams in which corresponding ideas occur 
has shown plainly that they originate in early mental 
conflicts relating to the parents notably repressed 
death wishes and guilt over incestuous impulses, in the 
primordial struggles between love and hate. 

It is not so easy to admit the possibility that various 
higher beliefs, and among them our most cherished, may 
have the same origin. Psychologists and anthropologists 
have brought forward much evidence to show that the 
belief in a soul that survives death has been extensively 
influenced by the experience of dreams, the infantile 
source of which we now know, and have thus opened the 
possibility of this belief having an altogether subjective 
origin. Even the second great theological dogma, the 
belief in a Deity, is becoming accessible to psychological 
investigation. It is generally recognized that it is bound 
up with the whole problem of evil, with both the ex- 
planation of the evil in human nature and the practical 
issue of how best to cope with it, and this is in accord 
with the historical, semantic and psychological con- 
siderations adduced in this book which go to show that 
God and the Devil were originally one Being. The analysis 
of the belief in the Devil, which may nowadays be classed 
as a superstition almost as definitely as the four other 
superstitious beliefs here treated, reveals it to be a de- 
rivative of the infantile conflicts over sexual and hostile 
wishes concerning the parents. This must raise the 
question whether the other aspect of the same Being, 
the divine aspect, does not represent merely another line 
of development from the same source. The whole subject 
of religion, its meaning and function, is obviously too 
vast to enter on here, 1 but I would say that in my opinion 
evidence is rapidly accumulating to show that the con- 
cept of the Heavenly Father is a subjective projection 
of the child's feelings about the earthly Father, and that 


1 [See my Zuv Psychoanalyse ier christlichen Religion, 1928.] 

rr. iv CONCLUSION 347 

the religious attitude has been evolved from the attempts 
to deal with the disturbing 'sinful' wishes concerning the 
parents. Psycho-analysis is showing more and more how 
the sense of sin with its corollary in the idea of salva- 
tion is born in the Oedipus complex, and that the 
struggle to deal with the unconscious derivatives of this 
continuously occupies mankind from the cradle to the 

If this view is true it would certainly go to explain 
the story of the superstitious beliefs treated in this book, 
and particularly the Witchcraft epidemic, in a way that 
nothing else does. The analysis here presented shows 
in my opinion conclusively the incestuous origin of the 
beliefs, and, as related above, the Church fully recog- 
nized that the Devil and Witch cult constituted a carica- 
ture, even to minute details, of the Christian faith. If, 
now, that cult was to Christianity as reverse to obverse, 
and if its signification was essentially incestuous, one 
can scarcely avoid the inference that its threat to 
Christianity lay in the risk of its exposing the incest 
origin of the Christian beliefs themselves. It is true that 
the process was throughout an unconscious and dis- 
guised one, but the threat was undoubtedly felt. The 
horrified and panic-stricken endeavours of the Church 
signified in essence a specially savage outburst of intoler- 
ance against anything that to it represented incest. One 
is led to the conclusion that Christianity must itself mean 
a sublimation of, and therefore at the same time a 
defence against, the primordial Oedipus wishes of man- 
kind, a solution of these fundamental conflicts which was 
felt to be vitally threatened by the danger they fought 
so desperately against; there is no other way of explain- 
ing the intensity of the emotion displayed and the lengths 
to which it was prepared to go to stamp out its enemy, 
even by pursuing a line of conduct so grossly at variance 
with its humane and ethical teachings. Devils and 
Witches simply caricatured Christian beliefs, and by so 
doing threatened to expose the repressed Oedipus wishes 
on which these are based. 


A close analogy can be shown to exist between the 
phenomena here investigated and psychoneurotic symp- 
toms; they are indeed to a large extent identical. Both 
originate in the repressed sexual wishes of early child- 
hood, which remain scarcely visible until external con- 
ditions compel certain sharply defined manifestations 
of them. The gradual disappearance of the superstitions 
took place in the same way as a spontaneous recovery 
does with neurotic symptoms, partly from an increase 
of the repression, partly from a fresh outlet being 
provided for the underlying trends. As has been shown 
in the preceding chapters, both these processes played 
a part in the disappearance of the five groups of super- 
stitions: increased acuity of scientific thought combined 
with even more intense sexual repression rendered them 
unsuitable forms of expression for the buried wishes. 
These considerations are suggestive in respect of the 
future development of the processes here treated. The 
experience accumulated with the neuroses shows that 
so long as the causative factors are not removed which 
has certainly not been done here the mere disappear- 
ance of the symptoms offers no assurance against future 
disturbances; the tendency of the underlying forces 
either to recreate the old symptoms or to seek satisfac- 
tion by other ways of expression remains intact. The 
possibility of a relapse into the old superstitions has to 
be rejected on many historical grounds and would in- 
deed be hard to imagine in our modern civilization, so 
that another group of outlets has to be found. There is 
much reason to think that the chief one of these has 
been the increase in individual psychoneuroses. In 
making the nice comparison between the amount of 
neurosis in modern and in ancient times respectively we 
may venture to guess that the main difference has been 
not in the actual quantity so much as in the different 
distribution of the manifestations. By this I mean that 
in former times in Europe, and still in savage races, 
neurotic manifestations appear to have been more com- 
munally organized and to have enjoyed a more general 


social acceptance than with us. What, for instance, are 
now called neurotic or psychotic patients are in a large 
measure the descendants of the old Witches, Lycan- 
thropes, and so on, together with the people who be- 
lieved in them. A further Consideration of importance, 
which is usually overlooked, is that the sufferings they 
endure are perhaps as oppressive and no less widely 
spread than those due to the analogous processes in the 
Middle Ages. One may seriously ask whether a patient 
afflicted with a morbid phobia, e.g., of thunder, suffers 
less than one who was afraid of the Devil. The latter 
was in many respects actually in a better position, since 
his fear was understood by his friends and recognized 
as being justified. He was not compelled to keep it secret 
in order to escape the shame and stigma of being so 
cowardly and weak as to 'give in to his imaginary fears'. 
A fear that is regarded by both the victim and his 
environment as reasonable and right is easier to bear 
than a quite senseless and irrational dread of something 
harmless, one which is not in accord with the other con- 
scious thoughts and even resists all conscious endeavours 
to cope with it. 

From all this two main conclusions may be drawn, to 
do with the problems of psychological 'repression 1 , i.e. 
excessive fear of the unconscious mind, and of judgement. 
We can scarcely occupy ourselves here with the social 
side of the first of these; 1 I have only tried to show, by 
one set of examples, what frightful consequences may 
follow irrational 'repression' of human instincts, i.e. 
dread of them. We have also seen how hard it is, and for 
hundreds of years impossible, to exterminate these con- 
sequences when their real meaning has not been dis- 

The relation of the theme to the problem of judgement 
is equally important. For anyone who is convinced that 
his opinion on an emotionally coloured topic, e.g., a social 
or religious one, is without doubt the only right one 
there is no sounder exercise than to reflect on the fact 

1 [See Social Aspects of Psycho-Analysis, 1924, edited by Ernest Jones.] 


that the most capable and keen thinkers of the Middle 
Ages, men who probably were by no means his inferior 
in mental gifts, unhesitatingly recognized the truth of 
propositions that now seem to us simply ridiculous. In 
discussing a group of minor errors in thinking, brought 
about by unconscious influences, Freud 1 made the 
weighty remark: 'Ich gebe aber zu bedenken, ob man 
nicht Grund hat, die gleichen Gesichtspunkte auch auf 
die Beurteilung der ungleich wichtigeren Urteilsirrtiimer 
der Menschen im Leben und in der Wissenschaft aus- 
zudehnen. Nur den auserlesensten und ausgeglichensten 
Geistern scheint es moglich zu sein, das Bild der wahr- 
genommenen ausseren Realitat vor der Verzerrung zu 
bewahren, die es sonst beim Durchgang durch die 
psychische Individuality des Wahrnehmenden erfahrt.' 
('I leave it to your consideration whether there is not 
ground for extending the same points of view to the 
more important errors of judgement committed in science 
and in life in general. Only the choicest and most bal- 
anced minds seem able to guard the image they perceive 
of outer reality from the distortion to which it is usually 
subjected in its passage through the mental individuality 
of the perceiver/) 

One of the principal aims of science is to achieve 
an objective view of the world, of civilization and life. 
The obstacles in the way of this aim that proceed 
from conscious inhibitions, for instance prejudices, have 
been overcome up to a certain point: we are now 
beginning the harder and more important work of dis- 
lodging the obstacles that proceed from the unconscious. 
The first step in this direction is the endeavour to il- 
luminate the nature and activity of these unconscious 
activities that mar and distort our conscious judgements. 
Freud has been the pioneer along a path that it is now 
possible to traverse; and when this is done mankind will 
have in the future less excuse for the dark pages that 
disgrace the book of its history as do the forms of super- 
stition we have here examined. 

1 Freud, Zur Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens, Dritte AufL, 1910, S. 121. 


Abraham, K., 65, 66, 135, 167, 
*93, 208, 264, 274, 278, 280, 

299, 303, 34> 314 
Acher, E. A., 168 
Adler, Alfred, 76, 245 
Adler, J. C. F., 14 

Aegineta, Paulus, 13, 15, 31, 32, 

33, 46, 50, MO 
Aephinius, G. F., 14 
Agathias, 104 
Aigremont, 120, 195, 260, 297,298, 

300, 303 

Albernus, Guilielmus, 259 

Albers, 33 

Allacci, L., 122 

Alpenburg, J. J. Ritter von, 


Andre"e, R., 107, 121, 136, 145 
Anwyl, E., 250 
Apollodor, 134 
Apollonius, 1 06 
Apuleius, 208 
Aquinas, Thomas, 83, 220 
Arbuthnot, J., 15 
Ariosto, 253 
Aristophanes, 167, 303 
Ariidt, 40 
Artemidoros, 97 
Artiques, 13 
Avicenna, 15 

Babinski, J., 211 

Bachtold, H., 327 

Bailey, N., 30 

Baillarger, J., 30 

Barclay, J., 33 

Baring-Gould, S., 133, 139, I5 1 * I 5 2 * 

208, 250 

Barrie, J. M., 336 
Batoutah, d'Ibn., 92 
Baudelaire, in 
Bayley, 77 
Beaugrand, 143 
Bell, Andrew, 13, 53 
Binet-Sangle, C., 116 
Binz, C., 32, 35 
Blavatsky, H. P., 47 
Bloch, I., 195, 201, 226 
Boccaccio, 250 

Bodin, J., 136, 139, 143. i? 1 

200, 204, 211, 222, 223 

Boerhaave, H., 15 

Boerner, J., 14, 28, 35, 39, 46 

Boguet, H., 141, 143, 235, 325 

Bois, Jules, 83, 220 

Bond, J., 14, 15, 16, 20, 24, 25, 28, 

32, 34, 44, 45, 53 
Boscawen, W. St. C., 279 
Boschulte, 14, 30 
Bosquet, A., 147 
Bourke, J. G., 176, 194, 220 
Brand, J., 195, 204, 266, 268, 295, 

300, 302, 312 
Brauns, D., 107 
Brentano, K. M., in 
Breton, Jean le, 211 
BreVannes, R., 170, 185, 193, 203, 


Brill, A. A., 260 
Brognoli, 86 
Browning, Robert, 186 
Bryant, J., 295 
Buckle, H. T., 196 
Budge, E. A. Wallis, 132 
Buffon, G. L. le Clerc, 124 
Burkard of Worms, 218, 220 
Burton, Sir Richard, 70 
Burton, Robert, 28, 32, 40, 50, 77, 

184, 198, 204 
Butler, S., 195 

Caelius, 13 

Calmet, A., 122 

Calmiel, L. F., 141 

Campbell, J. F., 294 

Carpzov, Benedict, 223 

Castellano, A., 14 

Castren, M. A., 116, 142 

Cauzons, Th. de. 134, 185 

Caxton, 82 

Century Dictionary, 98 

Cesaresco, see Martinengo-Cesa- 


Chambers' s Encyclopedia, 31, 33 
Charduillet, M., 14 
Chaslin, P., 16, 49 
Chatterton, T., 243 
Chaucer, 253 




Clodd, E.,6i, 73, 131, 133, 137, 142, 

151, 224 
Conway, M. D., 105, in, 121, 124, 

133, 136, 150, 156, 157, 158, 167, 

180, 182, 224 
Cook, A. B., 133, 135 
Cook, J., 220 
Cox, G. W., 161, 184, 203, 207, 

253, 261, 266, 269, 270, 278, 

280, 282, 284, 285, 289, 293, 

301, 304, 308, 313 
Cox, M. R., 64, 131, 137 
Crawley, A. E., 62 
Cubasch, D., 16, 23, 26, 28, 35, 

47. 52 
Cullimore, 93 

Dagonet, H., 91 

Dalyell, J. G., 82, 90, 171, 195, 294, 

301, 325 
Dankmar, 151 
Dante, 178 

Darwin, Erasmus, 22, 23, 26 
Dasent, G. W., 137 
Davenport, R. A., 117, 121 
Deane, J. B., 94, 302 
De Guaita, S., 83 
Delassus, J., 45, 47, 85, 86,90,205 
Delrio, 185, 223, 253 
De Saint- Andr6, 90 
Des Mousseaux, 83 
Deubner, L., 94 
Didron, 178 
Diodor, 132 
Dixon, W. H., 220 
Dony, F., 14 
Du Bose, H. C., 94 
Dubosquet, L., 14 
Dulaure, J. A., 92, 93 
Duringsfeld, I. and O. von, 144 

Ehrenreich, P., 327 

Eickmann, 172, 261 

Elton, C. I., 234 

Endriss, 51 

Ennemoser, J., 58, 186, 199, 213, 

Eratosthenes, 134 
Ese, 2ii 
Eusebius, 178 
Evans, E. P., 69 

Fergusson, J., 94 
Feuchtersleben, Ernst von, 33 
Fick, A., 327, 332 

Fischer, F., 58 

Fiske, J., 61, 68, 81, 134, 137, 139, 


Floyer, Sir James, 32 
Forbes Winslow, 15 
Forman, C., 125 
Fosgate, B., 14, 25, 27, 28, 30 
Foville, 15 

Franzisci, Erasmus, 258 
Frazer, J. G., 61, 93, 95. *33 
Freimark, H., 82, 84, 86, 107, 118, 

125, 141, 170, 176, 189, 200, 204, 

207, 208, 212, 219, 249 
Freud, Sigm., 29, 34, 41, 42, 43, 65, 

67. 71. 73, 75. 7 8 > 8 4> 8 7> i 6 > 
no, 121, 141, 150, 151, 152, 154, 
155, 158, 168, 184, 194, 195. 204, 
211, 260, 274, 303, 343, 344, 350 
Fuchs, E., 229 

Galen, 31, 344 

Garnett, David, 69 

Gener, P., 82, 89, 156, 157, 158, 

162, 165, 173, 225, 232 
Gervasius of Tilbury, 89, 136, 179, 


Gholes, 112 
Gillen, F. J., 173 
Glanvil, J., 223, 225 
Gockel, C. L., 14 

Goerres, J. J. von, 85, 86, 100, 233 
Goethe, 101 

Golther, W., 74, 254, 327 
Gopfert, F. A., 228 
Gould, C., 80 
Graf, A., 154, 155, 157, 169, 17. 

177, 178, 182, 183, 184, 209, 211, 

Grey, Sir George, 92 
Grillparzer, F., 120 
Grimm, J., 95, 137, 138, 139, 142, 
145, 146, 156, 161, 168, 170, 174, 

178, 179, 184, 185, 186, 187, 194, 
195, 202, 205, 206, 208, 218, 232, 
233, 235. 244, 252, 253, 254, 259, 
262, 263, 266, 267, 295, 301, 312, 
320, 321, 323, 327 

Grohmann, J. V., 116, 119, 218 
Gubernatis, A. de, 271, 276, 277, 
278, 279, 297, 307, 322, 323, 333 
Guillaume de Paris, 64, 206, 218 
Guolart, 136 

Hagedorn, C. B., 14 
Hagen, 228 



Hainlin, C. D. F., 14 
Hamilton, Mary, 94 
Hammond, W. A., 15, 16, 28, 32 
Hansen, J., 64, 83, 89, 137, 163, 

171, 192, 193, 196, 200, 203, 206, 
209, 213, 214, 217, 2l8, 219, 220, 
221, 224, 225, 235 

Hanush, J. J., 102 
Harington, J., 167 
Hartland, E. S., 64, 68, 95, 116, 

134, 303 

Hautemer, Donat de, 136, 148 
Haxthausen, A. von, 120, 139 
Hebbel, F., 101 
Hedelin, F., 162, 219 
Heine, H., 109, no, in 
Heinrich von Kleist, 109 
Hellwald, F. von, 118 
Henderson, B., 301 
Heppe, H., 199 
Herman, G., 136, 219 
Herodotus, 95, in, 282 
Herrera, Antonio de, 92 
Hertz, W., 70, 131, 133, 136, 137, 

138, 139, 140, 142, 145, 146, 147, 

186, 234, 313 
Herzberg, G. S. S., 14 
Hesychius, 295 
Heusler, A., 321 
Hexenhammer, Der, see Sprenger 

and Institoris 
Hinkmar, 171 
Hobbes, T., 59 
Hock, S., 101, 102, 105, 114, 115, 

Il6, 119, 121, 122, 125, 127, 128 

Hodgkin, T., 14, 15, 22, 32 
Hoensbroech, von, 213 
Hoffmann, E. Th. 39 
Hofler, M., 85 
Hohnbaum, 30 
Homer, 208, 266 
Hope, Laurence, 119 
Horst, G. C., 98, 102, 122, 206 
Hovorka, O. von, 123 
Howard, C., 94, 176, 260 
Howitt, A. W., 63, 77 
Huisinga, 14 

Huysmans, J. K., 83, 220 
Hyginus, 134 

Imperial Dictionary, 31 
Im Thurn, Sir E. F., 60 
Inman, T., 176, 203, 301 
Institoris, H., 84, 180, 192, 193, 
200, 205, 222, 223 

Ipolyi, 265 
Irenaus, 180 

Jaccoud, S., 15 

Jacob, P. L., 85, 101, 169, 17. I 77 
184, 211 

Jahn, U., 256 

Jahns, M., 134, 175, 205, 206, 209, 
244, 245, 248, 249, 251, 252, 254, 
255, 256, 258, 259, 262, 263, 265, 
266, 267, 268, 269, 278, 279, 280, 
284, 286, 287, 292, 294, 295, 296, 
297, 298, 299, 300, 302, 306, 310, 
311, 312, 313, 314, 318, 323, 324, 

33 6 > 337* 33 8 > 339 
James I., 90, 223 
Jamieson, J., 294 
~anet, P., 16, 49 

ennings, Hargrave, 288, 294 

espersen, O., 334, 335, 336 

ewell, J. R., 52 

ohn of Salisbury, 203, 218 
jOhns, C. H. W., 93 
Jones, Ernest, 14, 58, 66, 75, 76, 
97, 106, 109, 134, 175, 176, 177, 
208, 304, 307, 308, 346, 349 
Jorolis, J. P., 14 
Joyce, P. W., 265 
Judges, Book of, 281 
Jiihling, J., 164, 215, 222, 226 

Kanitz, F., 107 

Kant, I., 34 

Keats, J., 1 06 

Kelle, G., 16, 22 

Kemmerich, M., 189 

Kerner, A. J. C., 210 

Kiesewetter, C., 202, 207 

King, Irving, 62 

2 Kings, 279 

Kipling, Rudyard, 125 

Kirk, R., 83 

Kleist, Heinrich von, in, 204 

Knight, R. P., 172, 260, 293, 295, 

296, 301 
Kok, 14 
Kornfeld, 15 
Krafft-Ebing, R., 40 
Krainz, 254 
Krauss, F. S., 63, 102, 107, 119, 

121, 123, 126, 127, 143, 145, 205, 

232, 233, 234, 243, 257, 258, 287, 

302, 321 

Kristensen, E. T., 321 
Kronfeld, A., 123 



Ktihn, C. G., 14 
Kuhn, E. W. A., 118 
Kuhn, F. F. A., 143 
Kutsche, J., 14 

Laistner, L., 73, 79, 97, 107, 116, 
119, 126, 174, 232, 233, 235, 250, 
254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 266, 267, 
270, 271, 272, 288, 291, 294, 302, 
305, 306, 308, 309, 314 

Lamothe-Langon, E. L, de, 187, 
219, 221 

Lancre, Pierre de, 141, 142, 143, 
151, 166, 172, 185, 200, 202, 203, 

206, 207, 211, 222, 234 

Lang, Andrew, 95 

Lange, R., 57 

Langin, G., 213 

Latham, R. G., 32, 82 

Laurent, E., 71, 86, 125, 203, 206, 

208, 211, 220, 233, 239 
Lawrence, R. M., 195, 287, 288, 

3* 3 OI > 312 

Lawson, J, C., 123, 134, 145 
Layard, Sir Henry, 282 
Lea, H. C., 213 
Lecky, W. E. H., 229 
Legu6, G., 220 

Lehmann, A., 58, 61, 178, 185, 215 
Lehmkuhl, A., 228 
Le Loyer, 170, 173 
Lempens, 213 
Lenormant, F., 77, 119 
Lerchheimer, A., 150 
Leubuscher, S., 235 
Leuret, F., 91 
Lhomme, 16 

Loewenfeld, L., 42, 46, 49 
Louandre, C. L., 164 
Lowenstimm, A. A., 124 
Lower, R., 28, 30 
Ludwig, Otto, in 
Lunier, L., 112 
Liitzow, F., 290 
Lycophron, 134 

Macario, M. A., 13, 48, 91 

Macculloch, J. A., 294 

Mackay, C., 294 

Mackenzie, Sir M., 51 

McKerrow, R. B., 78 

McLennan, 68 

Macnish, R., 14, 15, 17, 21,22, 23, 

26, 27, 28, 32, 39, 52, 74 
MacWilliam, J. A., 15 


Madden, Sir Frederick, 138 
Magntisson, E., 133 
Mahdbhdrata, 277, 279, 287 
Malleus Maleficarum, see Sprenger 

and Institoris 
Mannhardt, W., 116, 133, 144, 146, 

223, 234 
Marc, 228 
Marchand, 15 
Marett, R. R., 62 
Marggraf, 13 
Martin, M., 95 

Martinengo-Cesaresco, E., 69 
Maudsley, H., 33 
Maury, L. F. A., 34, 78, 95, 202, 

2IO, 212, 253 

Mayo, H., 128 

Meier, E., 324 

Meinicke, D. C., 14 

Menant, J., 118 

Menippus, 106 

Mercier, E., 112 

Merker, 327 

Messteres, M. E. Escande de, 16 

Meung, Jehan de, 231 

Meunier, 16 

Meyer, E. H., 61, 73, 80, 95, 120, 

134, 137, 143, 144, 161, 168, 195, 

218, 233, 263, 264, 266, 267, 288, 

301, 302, 306, 311 
Meynert, Th., 40 

Michelet, J., 86, 165, 166, 213, 223 
Miklosich, F., 124 
Milton, John, 173, 233 
Mitchell, Sir Arthur, 96 
Mogk, E., 61, 131, 135. 263, 264, 

265, 289, 310, 313, 314 
Montanus, 256 
Moreau, J. J., 36 
Morel, 91 
Morris, W., 133 
Moses, J., 61, 70 
Motet, 15, 19, 24, 27, 32, 35 
Muller, H. O., 282 
Muller, J. K 14 

Miiller, Johannes, 58, 210, 231 
Muller, Max, 261, 279, 338 
Murisier, E., 84, 210 
Murray, Sir J. A. H., 268 
Murray, M. A., 172 

Nachtigal, G., 92 

Nagour, P., 71, 86, 125, 203, 206, 

208, 211, 220, 233 
Nashe, Thomas, 78, 169, 344 



Nevius, J. L., 210 
Nietzsche, 181 
Nork, F., 281 
Northumberland, 301 
Nynauld, 233, 234 
Nystrom, A., 178, 201, 223, 224, 

O'Curry, E., 96 
Oldham, 204, 259 
Origenes, 180 
Ovid, 134, 297 

Paracelsus, 45 

Parent, 239 

Pauly, A., 282 

Pausanias, 93, 95, 134 

Peixoto, 83 

Pennant, Th., 95 

Petrie, W. M. Flinders, 172 

Petronius, 281 

Peucer, C., 146 

Pezet, Ch., 84, 91, 210 

Pfaff, E. R., 27 

Pfister, O., 155, 203 

Picart, B., 185 

Pierce, Nathaniel, 131 

Pinches, T. G., 184, 261 

Pinkerton, John, 95 

Plancy, Collin de, 164, 172, 194, 


Pliny, 301, 309 
Ploss, H., 119 
Pluquet, F., 148 
Poestion, J. C., 116 
Powell, F. Y., 280 
Preller, L., 93, 282 
Prout, 35 
Pruner, J. E., 228 
Psellus, M. C., 16 
Puschmann, Th., 40, 93, 94, 95, 263 

euanter, R., 201 
uedenfeldt, M., 119 

Radcliffe, A., 39 

Radestock, P., 16, 21, 33, 35 

Rank, Otto, 65, 96, 135, 165, 296 

Rau, H., 58 

Rauch, J. H., 29 

Rees, Howell, 95 

Regius von Prum, 203, 218 

Reid, Mayne, 286 

Reik, Th., 158 

Remigius, 141, 224 

Rhases, 13 

Rhyn, O. Henneam, 108, 185, 219, 

223, 226, 228, 232 
Rhys, J., 234, 285, 294 
Ribes, F., 53 
Richardson, J., 95 
Riezler, Sigm., 143, 213, 235 
Rigveda, 269, 270, 278, 287, 299, 


Riklin, F., 65, 70, 94, 191 
Robert, C., 145 
Robertson, J. M., 157, 172, 279, 


Rocco, S., 176, 220 
Rochholtz, C. L,, 95 
Roller, 40 

Roscher, W. H., 152, 183, 261 
Roskoff, G., 120, 156, 161, 163, 

164, 170, 175, 176, 177, 178, 

179, 180, 181, 182, 184, 185, 186, 

188, 200, 209, 213, 215, 218, 220, 

223, 225, 226, 265 
Rosner, J. M., 14 
Roth, H. Ling, 63, 77, 92 
Rousset, Cesar, 26, 28, 31, 34, 35, 

36, 5<> 

Sade, Marquis de, in 

Sadger, J., no, 194, 204 

Sagar, 40 

St. Augustin, 83, 159, 309 

St. John, 286 

St. Paul, 160 

Sampson, W., 89 

Sanctis, Sante de, 16 

Santerre, 212 

Sauer, 282 

Sauvages de la Croix, F. Boissier 

de, 40 

Scaliger, 171 
Schindler, H. B., 107 
Schlegel, A. W. von, 118 
Schlichtegroll, C. F. von, 302 
Schmidt, B., 106, 150 
Schmidt, P. W., 333 
Schmidt, W., 14 
Scholz, F., 32, 33, 35 
Schonwerth, F. X. von, 119 
Schoolcraft, H. R., 133, 137 
Schoppner, A., 257 
Schrader, A., 327 
Schwalb6, R., 220 
Schwartz, W., 135, 278 
Schwarz, F. L. W., 143 
Schwegler, F. C. A., 135 



Scot, Reginald, 84, 89, 206, 212, 


Scott, Sir Walter, 225 
Sbillot, P., 250 
Seligmann, S., 120, 194, 199, 249, 

287, 289, 300, 301, 302 
Sellon, E., 172, 220 
Senart, E. C. M., 279 
Sepp, J. N., 102, 122, 215, 218, 

224, 259 

Shakespeare, 20, 299 
Shelley, Percy B., 108, 109 
Sidetes, Marcellus, 152 
Sikes, W. W., 145, 206, 228, 287 
Silberer, H., 154 
Simon, M., 48, 85 
Simpson, S., 14 
Simrock, K., 162 
Singer, in 

Sinistrari, P., 82, 83, 171, 212 
Skeat, W. W., 159, 244, 268, 312, 

326, 327 
Smith, 171 
Soldan, W. G., 179, 199, 213, 217, 

220, 221, 224, 226, 228, 230 
Souvestre, le Vylars, 1 1 1 
Spencer, B., 173 
Spencer, Herbert, 32, 60, 61, 62, 

63, 64, 68, 71 
Sperber, H., 331 
Spitta, H., 39, 5 1 
Splittgerber, F., 28, 30, 33, 34, 36, 

Sprenger, J., 84, 180, 192, 193, 200, 

205, 222, 223 

Squire, C., 267, 269 

Steffens, H., in 

Steingiesser, F., 202, 221 

Stekel, W., 41 

Stern, B., 102, 106, 114, 116, 117, 
118, 119, 123, 124, 127, 139, 140, 
147, 150, 227, 256, 300 

Still, G. F., 27 

Stoll, O., 92, 224, 249, 282, 304 

Storfer, A. J., 94 

Strackerjan, L., 143, 257, 258, 


Strahl, 33 
Strohmayer, W., 41 
Strtimpell, L. H., 33 
Summers, Montague, 104, 130 
Swettenham, F. A., 77 
Swinburne, 109 

Tacitus, 312 

Talmud, 281 

Teichmeyer, 14 

Temme, J. D. H., 116 

Tertullian, 180 

Tettau, W. J. A., 116 

Teuscher, R., 154 

Textoris, D., 14 

Thomas, 287 

Thompson, R. Lowe, 227 

Thorpe, B., 95, 133, 139, 143, 209, 

234, 253, 254, 255, 256, 267, 299, 

302, 323 

Torreblanca, 224 
Torresani, C., 125 
Tylor, E. B., 61, 180 

Unthank, J., 14 

Unwerth, Wolf von, 144, 320, 321 

Valde, A., 327 
Vaschide, N., 15, 16 
Vignoli, T., 244 
Virgil, 296, 309 
Void, Hourly, 204 
Voltaire, 122, 252 

Wachsmutt, Curtius, 145 
Wachter, 213 
Waechter, J. F. E., 14 
Wagner, Richard, 109 
Wake, G. Staniland, 94, 282 
Waller, J., 14, 16, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 
27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 39, 

46, 52, 53, 74 
Walton, Alice, 93, 94 
Wanckel, 14 
Warda, W., 41 
Webster, N., 98 
Weitenkampf, 128 
Welsch, 14 
Wenslovius, C. G., 14 
Werner, Z., 101, 109, in 
West, J., 77 
Westermarck, E., 165 
Wier, J. 164, 204, 206, 211, 260 
Wierus, 258 
Wilder, A., 295 
Wille, 40 

William of Newburgh, 121, 123 
Williams, Howard, 224, 226 
Willis, T., 30 

Wingfield-Stratford, E., 335 
Wlislocki, H. von, 117 
Wolf, J. W., 144, 150, 309 
Wolfeshusius, J. F., 141 



Wolter, H, J., 14 

Woodward, 33 

Wright, Dudley, 130 

Wundt, W., 62, 63, 64, 73, 79, 80, 

92, 95. 96, 127, 148, 217 
Wiinsche, A., 167, 168, 174, 175, 

179, 186 

Wuttke, A., 95, 97, IO 3> 105, 114, 
126, 133, 144, 145, 161, 179, 195, 
199, 218, 228, 231, 232, 262, 288, 
289, 294, 300, 312, 314, 322 

Zimmermann, 125 
Zschokke, 120 


Abbe Desnoyers, 227 

Abyssinia, 131, 183 

Accadian Gelal, 119 

Accommodation Theory, 161 

ach, 292 

acrin, 270, 277, 279, 297 

acva, 277, 278 

Aeolus, 310 

Aeschylus, 96 

Aesculapius, 93, 94, 95, 297 

Aeshma, 162, 172 

Agni, 279, 280, 289, 299 

Ahmed, 270 

Ahriman, 156, 170 

Ahts, 133 

Aix, 300 

ak, 292 

akakharu, 121 

akra, 292 

akva, 292 

Albania, 102 

Albigenses, 160 

alchemy, 165 

alcohol, 51 

Alexander IV., 217 

Alexander the Great, 82, 94 

algolagnia, 79 

alii, 261 

alligator pears (see pears) 

Alnwick, 123 

Alp, 47, 70, 77, 79, 82, 106, 116, 
1 19, 126, 127, 143, 144, 185, 232, 
233, 282,288,301,309,320,322 

Alpschlange, 97 

altar, 203, 301 

alu, 184, 261 

amaurotic, 328 

ambrosia, 208, 264, 297, 299, 317, 

325. 329 

America, 83, 133 
Ammon, 93, 95 
amnesia, 211 
Amphiarus, 95 
amulet, 301 
anal (see erotism) 
anal-sadistic (see sadism) 
ancestor worship, 63, 65, 71, 8 1, 95 
Ancyra, Canon Episcopi of, 216 
Andromache, 93 

Angela de Labarethe, 187, 220 
Anglo-Saxon, 152, 263 
anguinum, 301 

equated with parents, 71, 8 1 

and gods, 70, 71 

and sexual associations, 70, 79 

transformation into, 63, 64, 68, 
69, 81, 91, 133, 138, 139, 142, 
148, 149, 184, 219, 235, 259 

worship of, 64, 71 
anorexia nervosa, 211 
Ansbach, 146 
Antichrist, 182 
anxiety (see dread) 
anxiety dreams (see dreams) 
anxiety neurosis, 40-41, 53 
Apep, 170 

Aphrodite, 207, 279, 301 
Ap Nudd, 267 

Apollo, 70, 94, 135, 170, 279, 281 
Apollodor, 134 
Apollonius, 106 
Ap-uat, 132 
aqua, 292, 317 
Aquinas, Thomas, 217 
-Arabia, 270 
Aratus of Sicyon, 94 
arc en cercle, 211 
Archangel Michael, 95 
Archilupus, 186 
Ardat, 77 
Ardennes, 95 
Ardisson, 112 

Ares, 184, 279, 280, 282, 283, 295 
Argos, 301 
Aristomenes, 94 
ark, 315 
Armenian, 119 
arrow, 318 
Arthur, 285 
Arusha, 279 
arushi, 279 
Aryan, 159, 325 
Asgard, 267 
Ash Wednesday, 322 
Asia, 285 

Asmodeus, 162, 172, 173 
ass, 303, 307 



Assyria, 116, 119, 121 
astrology, 165 
Athene, 279, 295, 301 
Athens, 219 
Atlas Mountains, 119 
Attica, 95 
Atys, 70, 94 
Augustus, 94 
Aurora, 279 
Australia, 92, 172 
Autu, 77 
Avuna, 276 

Babylonia, 93 IJ 6, 125, 157, 172, 

184, 261 

Bacchanalia, 162, 219 
Bacchus, 96, 219 
Baldur, 162, 300 
Balkans, 121, 143 
Bamberg, 256 
banshee, 265 
baptism, 144 
barrenness, 193 
bats, 124 
Bavaria, 227 
Bedouin, 172 
Beelzebub, 253 
beetle, 117, 121 
Bel, 93 
Belgrade, 122 
belladonna, 207 
Bellerophon, 170 
Bergkirchen, 310 
Bertha, 218 
Bertrand, 112 
Besanson, 141, 235 
bird, 115 
bisexuality, 317 
Bithynia, 292 
black arts, 167, 277 
Black Death, 123 
Black Mass, 185, 202, 203, 220 
Blanik, 290 
blindness, 96 

blood drinking, 116, 127, 187 
blood pressure, 15 
Bocquet, Jacques, 143 
Boetia, 297 

Bohemia, 116, 178, 243, 290, 294 
Bordeaux, 227 
border, 283, 331 
Borek, 297 
Borneo, 92 
Bornholm, 144 
Bosnia, 123 

Bourdelot, Abb6, 143 

Bous, 264 

bow and arrow, 266 

Brahma, 157, 159, 172, 269 

Brandenburg, 255 

Braza, Council of, 160 

breath, 61, 307, 311 (see also Crea- 

tive Breath) 
Bride of Corinth, 101 
broomstick, 195, 206, 259, 288, 308, 


brotos, 332 
Brunhilda, 269 
Brunhilda beds, 169 
Bruxsa, 107 
Bucentaur, 294 
Bucentoro, 294 
Bucharest, 124 
buffoons, 175 
Bulgaria, 123, 124 
bulimia, 211 
bull, 70 

Burculacas, 122 
Bureau d'adresse, go 
burial alive, 128 
Buriih Khan, 142 
butterfly, 107, 127 
butter-making, 193 
Buxenwolf, 140 

Caesar, 82 

calcar, 253 

Callicantzaros, 115 

calx, 253 

Canada, 189 

Cancer, 286 

cannibalism, 1 1 6, 131, 148, 149, 150, 

Canopaea, 93 
Canute, 152, 186 
Cappadocia, 309 
Capri, 135 
cards, 162 
Carthaginia, 296 

castration, 113, 180, 261, 269, 273, 
275-290, 277, 285, 286, 290, 

303, 304, 305> 3^3 332 
catalepsy, 211 
caterpillars, 69 
Cathari, 160, 209 
cats, 115, 117, 142, 144, 160, 209, 

234> 235 
cauchemar, 253 
caverns, 289 
celibacy, religious, 165 



centaurs, 293, 301, 302, 308, 317, 322 

Central America, 92 

cerebral haemorrhage, 14 

Cestos, 301 

chaise, 335 

chariot-horse, 276 

Charites, 207 

Charlemagne, 82, in, 216, 300, 323 

Charles V M Emperor, 113 

charms, 308 

Charon, 265 

cheviller, 194 

Chicago, 123 

China, 92 

Chios, 94, 122 

Christ (see Jesus) 

Christmas Day, 115, 140, 145, 268 

Chronos, 273 

chthonic, 95, 136, 282 


Greek Orthodox, 103, 145, 163, 


Roman Catholic, 64, 83, 84, 87, 
^9, 91, 92, 103, 114, 140, 
160-161, 188, 189, 191, 192, 
198, 214-223, 225, 226, 228, 
231, 237, 238, 345, 347 

Churel, 119 

Cinderella, 298 

Ciuateteo, 77 

Clarence, 20 

cloisters, 84 

cloven hoof, 138, 302 

clowns, 175 

cock, 69 

Colonos, 295 

confarreatio, 203, 281 

conscience, 78, 112, 113, 275 

corpse, 104, in, 112, 116, 121, 
124, 132, 234 

Cottytia, 219 

Council of Braza, 160 

Council of Ireland, 217 

Count de Cadreras, 113 

Courland, 142 

covens, 208 

crab, 286 

Creative Breath, 307 

Crepi, 135 

Croatia, 302 

Cross, Holy, 176, 285 

Crusades, 196, 221 

crushing, 184, 243, 280, 328, 332 

cucumber, 38 

curiosity, sexual, 226 

curses, 104, 113 
Cybele, 295 
Cyprus, 82 
Czech, 309 
Czernebog, 186 

Dachnavar, 119, 147 
dada t 269 
Dadhyanc, 270 
Dalmatia, 115, 234 
danse du sabbat, 202 
Dante, 17, 169 
Dantsic, 123, 147 
Danube, 98 
day-bogey, 266 
Daymare, 27 
dead, the 

decomposition of, 103-105 

fear of, 105-107 

insatiability of, no 

masochism of, no 

reunion with, 99-102 

sadism of, no 

sexual love for, 110-112- 
Dearg-dul, 121 
death, 109, no, 112, 132, 133 

fiend, 255 

-gods, 135, 145 

identified with Hel, 256 

and impotence, 194 

and Werewolf, 145 

of body, 104, 113, 129, 187 

mythological, 158 
defloration, 301 
Deity (see Devil-God) 
Delilah, 281 
Demiurgos, 160 
demons, lewd, 77, 78, 88, 91, 118, 

storm, 184 

Denac, 115 

Denmark, 144, 234, 243, 254, 256 

Deodand, 69 

deos, 159 

deu, 159 

Deudel, 159 

devan, 159 

aversion to salt, 176 
-beds, 169 
and castration, 180 
a Christian conception, 156 
cloven hoof (Drudenfuss) , 232, 



Devil (contd.) 

and cockcrow, 175 

contempt for, 175 

Devil's claw, 212 

and dyspareunia, 185 

etymology of, 158, 159 

evolution of, 157-162 

and exorcism, 189 

as father, 166-177, 222 

and giants, 168-169 

as goat, 171, 205 

and God, 157-159, 166, 177-178, 
180, 181, 188, 346 

and horse, 205, 323-324 

and Incubi, 172, 173, 185 

and Jesus, 178, 179, 182 

in Middle Ages, 162-166 

in mythology, 161, 162 

and Nightmare, 183-185 

and Oedipus complex, 155 

pacts with, 164, 171, 225, 228,230 

phallic symbolism of, 170, 172 

possession by, 210 

as revenant, 169 

and reversals, 184, 185, 203 

and Sabbath, 171, 178, 185 

and semen, 179, 180 

as son, 177-183, 222 

and temptation, 169-171 

and Vampire, 187 

and Werewolf, 141, 146, 160- 
165, 186 

and Witches, 197, 232 

worship as caricature of Chris- 
tianity, 1 66, 178 
Devon, 249 
dew, 299 
dewel, 159 
dhvan, 159 
diabolos, 158 
Diana, 93 
dice, 162 

Dietrich von Bern, 267, 323 
diewas, 159 

Dioscuri, 277, 279, 297, 307 
Diovis, 159 
dis, 159 
div, 159 
divining, 312 
diw, 159 
djinn, 172 
Dobbin, 268 
Dodona, 302 
Doge of Venice, 294 
dogs, 115, 117 

double, 159 
dowry, 142 
dragon, 170, 306 

and incest, 81 

in Nightmare, 20-21 

pathogenesis of, 40-41 

and sexuality, 41, 106 

animals in, 68, 70 

anxiety dreams, 129 

and belief in the soul, 61, 62 

of the dead, 62, 63, 68 

and flying by night, 64, 65, 204, 
206, 258 

folk dreams, 66 

Freud's theory of, 42-43, 67 

influence of, 67, 68 

latent content of, 65, 68, 76 

and myths, 65, 66, 73 

resemblance to psychoneurotic 
symptoms, 66, 67 

and riding, 204, 206 

of savages, 60 

sense of reality of, 58, 60 

visual imagery of, 67 

vividness of, 58, 60 
Drud, 119 
Drude, 218 

Drudenfuss (see Devil, cloven hoof) 
Druden-Zeitung, 224 
Druidism, 299 
duendes, 82 
Dummhans, 270 
Durak, Ivan, 271 
Dusius, 159 
DV root, 159 
dva, 159 
dvi t 159 
dwarves, 80, 82 
dyaus, 159 
dys, 159 
dyu, 159 

ech t 292 
Eddy, Mrs, 188 
Egmont, 59 
ego-dystonic, 87 
ego-syntonic, 87 

Egypt, 93. 132, 157, 

298, 301 
Elendstal, 305 
Elis, 145 
elixir of life, 165 
Ellermutter, 179 



Elohim, 158 
emission, 317, 319 
emulsion, 331 
England, 226 
envy, 275 
Ephesus, 93 

Ephialtes, 77, 183, 184, 261, 343 
Epidauros, 93 

epidemics, 102, 121, 122, 123, 124, 
136, 142, 213, 221, 226, 228, 
229, 237, 347 
Epirotes, 106, 150 
Epirus, 93 
Epona, 250 
tpreuve du stylet, 212 
equus, 292, 317 
Eratosthenes, 134 
Eros, 267, 279, 283 
Eros-Cupid, 266 
anal, in, 112 
oral, in 

respiratory, 51, 311, 312 
urethra!, 303 

erotomania, 91 

Etrusca, 135 

Europa, 70 

Europe, East, beliefs, 234 

Eurydice, 100 

evil, problem of, 188, 346 

Excalibur, 285 

excrementitial activities, 290-319 

exorcism, 83, 211 

exteriorization, 100 

eye, 120, 139, 288, 304 (see also 

Eye, Evil, 301, 302 

Eye of God (see symbolism) 

eye of heaven, 289 

faeces, in 

familiar, 234 

fauns, 184 

Faunus, 135, 136 

Faust, no 

fear, 274, 275 

February, 136, 152 

Februus, 135 

feet, 1 20 

Fenrir, 133, 186 

fertility, 278, 283, 287, 296, 297, 

302, 303, 316, 317 
Finland, 116 
Firdusi, 270 
fire, 284, 287, 304, 334 

fire-worship, 278 

First of May, 280 

Fjolnir, 270 

flatus, 307, 308, 311 

flatus symbolism (see symbolism) 

flesh-eating, 116 

flight through the air (see nocturnal 

foal's caul, 143 
follets, 82 
folletti, 82 
forest sprites, 161 
fornication with the Devil, 221, 

223, 226, 228, 229, 232 
France, 83, 143, 148, 194, 227, 


Fratzentrdume, 79, 80 
Freki, 132 
French-Canada, 143 
Freya, 142, 209 
Frickthal, 255 
Frigg, 218 
Frisia, East, 249 
frogs, 121 
Furious Host, 146, 261, 262, 289, 

306, 323, 325 
Fuseli, 256 

Gaelic, 279 

gandha, 308 

Gandharvas, 118, 308 

Garden of Eden, 170 

garlic, 124 

Garter (see Order of) 

garwolf, 137 

Gelal, 119 

Geneva, 227 

Geri, 133 

Germany, 122, 134, 215, 227, 233, 

279, 287, 298, 312 
ghosts, dread of, 112 
ghoul, 99, 112, 148, 172, 234 
giants, 190, 264, 270, 271 
Gipsy, 159 
Gladheim, 135 
Glashtyn, 294 
glass mountain, 270^ 271 
globus hystericus, 211 
gnostics, 1 60 
goat, 70, 161, 171, 198, 205, 279, 


goat-god, 157, 172, 279 
God (see Devil) 
God of Death (see death) 
God of Headlands, 269 


gold, 197, 299, 



Gorgon, 80 

Gothic, 152 

Grail (see Holy Grail) 

Gram, 269 

Grant, 179, 323 

Gratiae, 207 

Greece, 93, 104, 115, 118, 122, 123, 
133, 134, 157, 159, 184, 265, 277, 
280, 284, 293, 296, 297, 302, 308 

Gregory IX., Pope, 217 

Grendel, 179, 184, 187, 323 

Grenier, Jean, 134, 143 

grinding, 329, 332 

guilt, 70, 78, 99, 102, 103, 112, 113, 
114, 130, 197, 198, 274, 275 

Hackelberg, 267 

Hades, 135 

haemorrhage, cerebral, 14 

hag-stones, 195, 301 

hair, 137, 285, 299 

hallucinations, 48, 49, 85, 91 

Hamlet, 271 

hammer, thunder-, 161 

Hammerkin, Master, 174 

hand-towel, 233 

hare, 234 

hare-lip, 234 

hari, 315 

hant t 315 

Hastvmann, 294 

hat, 288-304 

hatchet, 233 

hate, 105, 112, 114, 120, 121, 129, 


Hauchseele, 61 
Hazazel, 158 

headlessness, 286, 287-298 
Hebrew, 181 
Heinrich der Loewe, 323 
Hel, 133, 179, 256 
Helicon, 298, 300, 313 
Helios, 289 
hell, 323, 324 
Helle, 157 
Hellequin, 267 
Hell horse, 322 
helmsman, 295 
Hengist, 263 
Henry II., 263 
Hephaestes, 162 
Hera, 135, 208, 295 
Heracles, 170, 209, 284, 285, 286 

heretics, 103, 163, 191, 199, 209, 

214, 225, 230 
Hermania, 301 

hermaphrodite, 283, 294, 298 
Hermes, 266, 304, 314 
Herne the Hunter, 267 
Herodias, 286 
Herzegovina, 233 
Hessia, 309 
Hexen-Zeitung, 224 
Hildebrand, Song of, 250 
Hindustan, 131, 248, 277, 282 
Hip, 295 
Hippa, 295 
Hippe, 310 
Hippios, 283, 295 
Hippocampen, 294 
Hippocrene, 298, 300, 313 
Hippodates, 310 
Hippodes, 302 
Hippolyte, 301 
Hippoman, 302 
hippon, 295 
Hippos, 295 
Hirpi, 135 
Hnikar, 168 
hob, 268 
hobble, 268 

hobby-horse, 260, 268 
/jofcgoblin, 268 
Holda, 209, 218 
Holland, 226 
hollow back, 232 
Hollywood, 125 
Holy Cross, 176 
Holy Grail, 301 
Holy Inquisition, 214, 215, 224 

226, 227 
holy springs, 96 
holy stones, 195, 301 
holy wells, 96 
homosexuality, 307 

collar, 143 

as Devil, 205, 323-324 

ears, 287, 306, 307 

eating horse-flesh, 325 

equated to lion, 280 

and fertility, 297-304, 313, 316 

, 317 

foot, 302-303 

Furious Host, 261, 262, 323 

and gold, 271 

halter, 249, 258 

head, 286-288 



horse (contd.) 
hobby-horse, 260, 268 
hoof, 297-300, 324 
Horse-Gods, 262, 263, 274 
horse-shoe, 194, 195, 232, 258- 

286, 297, 300-302, 308, 324 
and Incubi, 320-321 
magic steed, 269-271, 276-278, 

279, 289, 299, 305, 306, 323 
mane, 279, 280, 285, 287, 304 
movement of, 251, 294-295, 316- 

3i8, 338 

neighing, 294, 3H> 3 
phallic symbolism of, 260, 269- 

271, 276 

and prophecy, 310-312 
ridden by horse-mare, 254-255 
riding, 249, 251-258, 295, 323, 324 
shining appearance of, 251, 283, 

3I7-3I8, 338 
skull, 195, 265 
spur, 253 

as sun-god, 277-286 
and theft, 269 

trampling, treading, 253, 298 
and Vampire, 321 
as water-god, 293-296, 309 
and Werewolf, 321-323 
Wild Hunt, 261, 262, 267, 268 
as wind-god, 265, 266, 280, 282, 

Horus, 132 
Hrosa, 315 

Hungary, 122, 124, 265, 276, 322 
Huns, 82 

Hunter, Wild, 161 
Hyginus, 134 
Hymir, 179 
hyosyamus, 207 
hyperaesthesia, 91 
hypochondriasis, 53 

Iceland, 243, 250, 315, 321 

idolatry, 217 

illegitimacy, 117 

illusions, 74 

impotence, 93, 96, 97, 118, 192, 

223, 285, 288 
incarnation, 94 
incest, 127, 130, 230, 231, 232, 238, 

260, 307, 332, 347 
Incubation, 92-97 

and divination, 96 

and grave-sleep, 93, 95 

and holy wells, 93, 96 

Incubation (contd.) 

and Nightmare, 96, 97 

and prayer, 96 

and serpent worship, 94 

and sterility, 93, 96 
Incubi, 77, 82 

and angels, 71 

and demons, 83 

and Devil, 172, 185 

due to seminal abundance, 90 

and horse, 320-321 

and Nightmare, 85, 86, 89, 97 

in theology, 83, 84, 87, 89, 91, 92 

and Vampire, 125-127 

and Werewolf, 143 

and Witches, 232 
India, 92, 93, 119, 144, 157, 159, 
162, 179, 181, 184, 276, 279, 
280, 284, 296, 297, 298, 302 
Indo-China, 117 
Indra, 70, 207, 269, 270, 277, 279, 

280, 287, 307, 333 
injustice, 275 
Innus, 135 
insatiability, no 
Ireland, 95, 121, 227, 259, 312 
Iruntarivia, 172 
Isis, 93, 301 
isopathic principle, 97 
Italy, 136, 227, 301 
Ixion, 17, 293 

Jamprost, Clauda, 143 

Janguillaume, Clauda, 143 

Japan, 107, 298 

Jaromir, 120 

Java, 121 

Jehovah, 158 

Jesus, 268, 286, 300, 307 

Jew, Wandering, 267 

Jews, 158, 219 

John the Baptist, 268, 286 

Judaism, 157, 181 

Juggernaut, 17 

juments au diable, 250, 324 

Juno, 136 

Jupiter, 159 

Jura, 142 

Jutland, 254, 321 

Kabbalah, 170 
kelpie, 294, 317, 322 
Kelts, 159 
Kelts, Ancient, 250 
keyholes, 81, 144 



KielGelat, 119 

Kiel-uddakarra, 77 

Kikimara, 77 

King Arthur, 267, 301 

King Frederick Barbarossa, 289 

King Herod, 1 1 1 

King Hugo, 267 

King John 'Lackland 1 , 147 

King March ap Meirchon, 294 

King of the May, 266 

King Siggeir, 133 

King Vanlandi, 253 

King Waldemar, in, 267 

kissing, 121 

knife, 195, 232, 288, 308 

Koch, 75 

Koran, 172 

Koslak, 234 

Krassowa, 124 

Krishna, 170, 279 

Kronos, 293 

ladder, under a, 129 

Lady of the Lake, 285 

Lailah, 125 

lameness, 96, 162, 180 

Lamia, 106, 118 

Langsior, 77 

Laocoon, 17 

Lapland, 116 

Lausanne, 233 

Leamain Sith, 77 

Leda, 70 

Le Grand Veneur, 267 

Lenore, 101 

Lr, 269 

Lerna, 17 

Leto, 135 

Leviathan, 170 

Leviticus, 158 

lewd demons (see demons) 

Lex Ripuaria, 152 

ligature de Vaiguillette, 193 

lightning, 167, 318 

Lilats, 116 

Lilith, 90, 125 

Lilitu, 125 

Linga, 282, 284 

lion, 280, 283 

Lipany, 290 

Lister, 75 

Lithuania, 159 

Loki, 133, 157, 162, 186, 250, 280 

London, 267 

Lord Nelson, 300 

Lord Roberts, 300 

loubins, 148 

loup-varou, 136 

Lourdes, 96 

Louviers, 211 

love, 100, 105, 108, 109, no, in, 

112, 114, 120, 121, 129 
love-charms, 198 
love-philtres, 198 
love-potions, 302 
Lucifer, 160, 169 
Ludak, 1 1 6, 
Lugh, 269 
lulti, 125 
Luperca, 135 
Lupercalia, 136 
Lupercus, 135, 136 
Luren, 106 
Lusitania, 309 

lust, cannibalistic, 148, 150, 152 
Luther, Martin, 82, 176, 182 
lycanthropy, 133, 136, 140, 151, 


Lycaon, 134 
Lycophron, 134 

maar, 302 

macerate, 331 

MAD, 330 

magicians, 167 

magic staff, 260 

Mahdbhdrata, 277, 279 

Mahre, 127, 143, 218, 235, 320 

Mdhre, 309, 314, 244, 245, 251, 309, 

314. 337 
Mdhrte, 328 
maiden of gold, 272 
MAK, 331 
malachite, 330 
malan, 330 
Malay, 116 
maid, 329 
Maleftcium, 190, 193, 194, 195* *96, 

198, 199, 221, 223, 225, 228, 

230, 231 

<d%, 329, 33 * > 337 

malice, 330 

malign, 330 

mallet, 330 

malleus, 330 

Malleus Maleficarum, 200, 223 

mallow, 330 

malt, 330 

malus t 330 

malva, 329 



Manann&n, 269 

mane, 279 

Mani, 160 

Manichaeans, 160, 167, 219 

mano cornuta, 301 

Manx, 294 

mar, 244, 280, 315, 322, 326, 329, 

330, 337, 33 8 

mar, 245 

mara, (see also Mahre and mare), 
77, 126, 127, 143, 144, 172, 
232, 233, 243, 244, 245, 
254, 255, 256, 259, 301, 302, 
309, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 
327, 328, 329, 330 

mara, 244 

marah, 326 

mar an, 328 

Marat, 77 

Marbach, 300 

marc, 244 

mar cere, 331 

marcescent, 331 

march, 244, 245, 251, 284, 291, 

294, 3<>9, 33i 
marcha, 326, 337 
marchand, 283 
marche, 283 
marcher, 251 
mard, 329, 330 
mardu, 332 

( = female horse) 
etymology of 244, 283, 284, 
291, 3*4, 315, 326, 337. 338 
identified with woman, 247- 

250, 254-258 
relation to mare == night-hag, 

246, 248, 321 
(= night-hag) 

etymology of 243, 302, 327- 

332, 337* 338 

relation to mare = female 
horse, 246, 248, 321 

and Witches, 232, 233, 324, 325 
mare-riding, 324 
marg, 329 
MARG, 331 
Margate, 263 
margin, 331 
marh, 327, 337 
marha, 326, 337 
Mdrhe, 244, 263, 337 
marhja, 326, 337 
man, 329 

Marianne, in 

marine, 329 

maritime, 329 

marja, 337 

mark, 283, 331 

MARK, 331 

marka, 331, 337 

market, 331 

markiren, 283 

mark-os, 326 

markten, 283 

marline, 328 

marmalade, 329 

Marne, 320 

marren, 328, 336 

Mars, 135, 279, 280, 282, 283 

Mars Gradivas, 283 

marsh, 291, 309, 329 

Marspiter, 282 

marta, 326 

Martel, Charles, 328 

Martin d'Arles, 205 

martulus, 328 

martyr, 331 

maru, 329 

marul, 144 

maruts, 184, 261, 280 

marva, 328, 329 

masochism, 153 

Mass, Black, 185, 202, 203, 220 

master-builder, 162 

Master of the Sabbath, 141 

master-smith, 162 

masturbation, 275, 343 

Masuria, 309 

Mater Dei, 190 

materialistic attitude, 14, 75, 88, 

343, 345 
mauve, 330 
May, 268, 280, 325 
May-pole, 266 
mead, 264, 313, 330 
meal, 330 
mearh, 244, 326 
mearu, 328 

Mecklenburg, 228, 321 
med, 329 
mediumism, 211 
Meduegya, 102, 122, 
Medusa, 298, 299, 303 
mel, 329, 330 
Melanie, 330 
melanotic, 330 
melas, 330 
meld, 331 



MELG, 331 
Melissa, in 
melitha, 330 
Mellentin, 255 
mellifluous, 330 
melt, 330 
melta, 330 
melzu, 337 
men-bears, 131 
Mendes, 70 
men-hyaenas, 131 
Menippus, jo6 
men-leopards, 131 
mental conflicts, 43, 44, 53 
mer, 291 
mercenary, 331 
merchant, 331 
merche, 245 
merci, 331 
mercy, 331 

mere, 244, 284, 291, 326, 329 
mere-ly, 329 
merenda, 328 
mereo, 328 
meretricious, 328 
merg, 251, 331 
merha, 326, 337 
meriche, 244 
meriod, 328 
merit, 328 
mer j an, 315 
merk, 251 
mer ken, 283 
Merlin, 82, 182 
mermaid, 301 
merr, 244 
merran t 328 
Merse, 331 
merus, 329 

Mesmin, Madame, 227 
messages, 314 

metamorphosis (see animals) 
metempsychosis, 64, 68 
s Midas, 294, 307 
Midgard, 170 
Midsummer Day, 312 
Midsummer Night, 286 
Mihr, 283 
mil, 330 
Milan, 227 
mild, 330 
mildew, 330 
miliui, 330 
milk, 193, 331 
mill, 281 

millet, 330 

milt, 330 

Min, 172 

Minerva, 162 

mira, 329 

mistletoe, 299 

Mithra, 172, 279, 283, 289 

Mohammed, 182, 297 

moil, 330 

Moira, 284 

molar, 330 

Moliones, 280 

mollify, 330 

mollis, 330 

mollusc, 330 

molong, 116 

Monmouthshire, 95 

Montenegro, 127 

moor, 291, 328, 329 

Moor, 269 

moore, 243 

mor, 291, 329 

Mora( = mara), 77, 116, 119, 126, 

224, 302 
Moravia, 306 
mordacity, 330 
mordant, 330 
mordere, 330 
more, 291 
morn, 320 
moroiu, 118 
moron, 328 
morphia, 331 
morphology, 331 
morsel, 330 
mortal, 329 
mortify, 329 
mor to s, 332 

Mother Earth, 104, 173 
mould, 330 

mountain, 289, 290, 306 
mourn, 330 
mourning, in, 113 
movement, 294, 316, 318 
MR root, 243, 326-339 
mulcare, 331 
mulcere, 331 
mulch, 330 
mulct, 331 
muller, 330 

multiple personality, 211 
murder, 329 
murghe, 251 
murren, 336 
muses, 313 



mystics, 201, 203 

mythology, 66, 73, 273, 274, 277, 
279* 283, 284, 285, 286, 290, 
291, 293, 294, 305, 312, 316, 
317, 319, 320 

Nahemah, 91 

narcolepsy, 211 

necrophilia, in, 112, 122, 152 

nectar, 208, 248, 264 

need-fire, 286 

negativism, 211 

neighing (see horse) 

Nephele, 293 

Neptune, 269, 295, 296 

Nero, 182 

Netherlands, 224, 302 

New Year's Day, 324 

Nez Perces, 133 

Nibelung ring, 301 

night, 132 

night-bogey, 144, 266 

night-fiend, 144, 206, 215, 255, 265, 

291, 38, 319, 320, 321, 327 
night flight (see nocturnal travel- 

night-hag, 143, 243, 245, 330 
Night Hunt, 261 

animals in, 46 

and blood pressure, 15 

cardinal features of, 20, 74, 75 

and cerebral haemorrhage, 14 

circulatory explanation of, 33-34 

comparisons with hallucinations, 
48, 49, 85, 91 

description of, 16-19 

and Devil, 183-185 

and dread, 20-21 

and erotic dreams, 46-48, 76-77 

exhaustion from, 25 

frequency of, 52 

gastric explanation of, 31-33, 35, 

38, 39, 51 
guilt in, 78 
and hysteria, 15 
and incest, 44, 76 
and Incubation, 96, 97 
and Incubi, 85, 86, 89, 97 
influence on waking phantasy, 


and insanity, 15, 53 
and lewd demons, 77, 78 
and masochism, 53 
and masturbation, 332, 343 

Nightmare (contd.) 
and menstruation, 44-45 
and mental conflict, 36, 44, 76, 

77* 78 

and myths, 73, 79 
nervous explanation of, 30 
and paralysis, 22-23 
pathogenesis of, 22-41, 344, 345 
and physical stimuli, 50-51, 81 
and posture, 20, 28, 34, 38, 49 
psycho-analytical theory of, 44 
psychological explanation of, 36- 

respiratory explanation of, 35, 

39, 5i 
respiratory oppression in, 21-22, 


and sadism, 332, 336 
seminal emissions in, 46, 49, 328 
and sexuality, 44-49, 76, 77 
suspension of volition in, 22, 23 
time of occurrence of, 27 
toxic explanation of, 35, 38 
and Vampire, 127-129 
vividness of, 18, 20, 21, 74 
and Werewolf, 148-151 
and Witches, 231-232 

night-riding (see nocturnal travel- 

Nikarr, 295 

nixes, 286 

Nixie, 294 

Noah's Ark, 301 

nocturnal emissions, 88, 89, 119, 
120, 130, 328 

nocturnal travelling, 125, 126, 130, 
131, 145, 161, 199, 223, 228, 
230, 231, 235, 237, 258, 260, 
261, 322 

Normandy, 152, 323 

Norse, 152, 187, 263 

North America, 92 

Norway, 131, 170, 320, 321 

Nosferat, 117, 118 

nuns, 84, 221 

Nuremberg, 146 

nymphomania, 53 

Ocean of Milk, 248 

Oceanus, 296 

Ocyrhoe", 297, 310 

Odin, 133, 142, 161, 162, 170, 186, 
250, 253, 262, 263, 264, 265, 
266, 267, 268, 279, 280, 286, 
287, 288, 289, 295, 302, 304, 

2 A 



Odin (contd.) 

306, 309, 311, 313, 314, 323, 

325 (see also Wotan) 
Odin Gunnlodh, 94 
Odrerir, 208, 264, 313 
Oedipus complex, 151, 154, 156, 190, 

222, 270, 271, 276, 288, 347 
ointment, 141, 207, 208, 234 
Old Davy, 168 
Oldenburg, 97, 257, 309 
Old Nick, 168, 295 
one-eyed, 283 (see also eye) 
oneiromancy (see Incubation) 
Onolzbach, 146 
opium, 207 
oppression fiend, 243 
oral (see erotism) 
oral sadism (see sadism) 
Order of the Garter, 301 
Orient, 196 
orire, 292 
Orko, 115 
Orpheus, 100 
Osiris, 132, 301 
owl, 107 

pact (see Devil) 

paganism, 163 

Paget, Thievenne, 143 

palfrey, 251 

Pall Mall, 330 

palms, 137 

Palukah, 116 

Pamphile, 208 

Pan, 157, 161, 172, 183, 267 

panic, 161 

panophobia, 40 

Papal Bull, 217 

Paracelsus, 140 

paralysis, 96, 120 

Farsees, (see India) 

pavor diurnus, 27 

Pearce, Tom, 250 

pears, alligator, 29 

pederastia, 304 

Peel, John, 267 

Pegasus, 298, 313 

Penangulam, 117 

penetration, 308, 310, 311 

penis-womb-phantasies, 289, 290 

pentagram, 195, 302 

pen-y-ceffyl, 287 

Perceval, 284 

Periander, in 

Permessos, 300 

persecution, 140 

Persephone, 70, 94, 218 

Persia, 92, 156, 159, 160, 162, 170, 

172, 279, 283, 312 
Peru, 227 
perversion, 130 
pesadilla, 253 
pesaruole, 253 
pestilence, 256 
petrus, 253 

phallic stage, 275, 276, 290 
phallic symbolism (see symbolism) 
philosopher's stone, 165 
Philyra, 293, 296 
Phoenicia, 295 
Phrygia, 295 
pica, 2ii 
Piedmont, 333 
pilgrimages, 96 
Pisichas, 118 
pixies, 142 
plague, 122, 123 
Plato, 82 
Pluto, 279 
poetry, 313 

Poland, 124, 186, 206, 227, 243 
polarity, 159 
polygamy, 196 
Polyphemus, 289 
Pomerania, 256 
Pomponace, 140 
Pontianak, 121 
Portugal, 107, 134 
Poseidon, 279, 292, 294, 295, 298, 


possession, 212 
Praeneste, 282 
predictions, 311 
Priscillian, 160 
Procrustes, 17 
projection, 100 
Pschezpolnica, 302 
pseudocyesis, 211 
psychopomp, 132, 145, 146, 265, 

266, 305, 323 
Publius Scipio, 94 
Puck, 268 
purgatory, 114 
Puritanism, 229 
puss, 234 
Pwca, 268 

Queen of the Sabbath, 203 
rain, 167, 298 



raven, 161, 314 

rebirth, 64 

red hair, 121 

release, 126 

religion, phallic, 71 

Remus, 135, 282 

Renner, 292 

repression, 41, 43, 44, 45, 49, 53, 

75, 76, 77 8 7 Io6 !65 238, 

348, 349 

retaliation, fear of, 112 
re-union, 100, 104, 108 
revenant, 63, 106, 107, 112, 127, 

148, 153, 169, 187, 234, 346 
re-vivification, 187 
Rhesos, 292 
Rhode Island, 123 
Rhodes, 133 
riding, 204, 288, 295, 297, 302, 

317, 324, 325 
Rindr, 264 
rinnen, 292 
Robert, 268 
Robert the Devil, 182 
Robin, 268 

Robin Goodfellow, 268 
Robin Hood, 266, 268 
Robit, 280 

Roman de la Rose, 231 
Rome, 93> Il8 > I2O > I2 7> I 35, 215, 

281, 297, 298, 302 
Romulus, 135, 282 
ros, 299 
Ross, 299 
Rossbach, 300 
Rou mania, 124 
Round Table, 301 
R sound, 333-336 
runes, 311 
Ruodperht, 268 
Ruprecht, 267, 313 
Russia, 124, 227, 234, 271, 276, 


Rustem, 270 
Ruthenia, 118, 189 
rye-fiend, 144 
rye-wolf (Roggenwolf) (see under 


Sabbath, 141, 223, 228, 230, 232, 

* *-- 
Sabme, 135 

Sabos, 219 

sacrifice, 279, 321, 325 

saddle-girth, 249 

sadism, 106, no, 120, 121, 151, 
152, 226, 332, 336 

anal, in, 118, 227 

and anti-social trends, 152 

infantile, 81 

oral, in, 120, 150 
sailing, 295 

St. Anthony, 169, 170, 171 
St. Benedict, 171 
St. Brigitta, 169 
St. Coleta, 176, 181 
St. Damien, 95 
St. Elizabeth, 171 
St. George, 170 
St. Hubert, 95, 267, 288 
St. John's Eve, 286 
St. Martin, 162, 171, 267 
St. Michael, 265, 267 
St. Nicholas, 267, 295 
St. Patrick, 133 
St. Valentine, 162 
St. Victorinus, 171 
saints, 201 
Salpetridre, 211 
salt, 105, 176, 195, 232 
Salzburg, 141, 143 
Samson, 270, 280, 281, 285, 


Sanscrit, 159, 279 
Satan, 158, 181, 202 (see also 


Saturn, 162, 293, 296 
satyriasis, 50, 53 
satyrs, 293 
Savitar, 279 
Saxony, 227 
Scandinavia, 131, 320 
Schattenseele, 61 
Schmerz, 330 
Schmtteli, 77 
Scipio Africanus, 82 
Scotland, 83, 95, 96, 227, 234, 


Scythian, 282 
Seiler, Joanna, 164 
Seraphis, 93 
serpent (see snake) 
Servia, 107, 122, 123, 124, 186 
Set, 132, 157, 170 
seven, 143 

sexuality, infantile, 274, 275 
Shamash, 93 
shaving, 113 
sheep, 137 



Shiva, 172 

Shulista, 294 

Sigi, 152 

Sigmund, 133 

Sigurd, 269 

Sil, 119 

Sileth, 119 

sin, 84, 139, 198 

Sinfjotli, 133 

Sisyphus, 17 

Siva, 157, 284 

Slav, Southern, 119, 124, 126, 232, 


Sleipnir, 250, 262, 280, 299 
smart, 330 

Smith of Bielefeld, 174 
snake, 107, 127, 264, 277, 282, 283, 

301, 309, 310 
snake-stone, 301 

snake symbolism (see symbolism) 
solstice, 303 
solvent, universal, 165 
Soma, 208, 264 
somnambulism, 150, 211 
Song of Hildebrand, 250 
Soranus, 135 
sorcerers, 198, 228, 230, 234, 


soul, concepts of, 61, 62, 74 
souttves, 82 
South America, 227 
Spain, 224, 227 
Sparta, 93 
spear, 265, 266 
speed mania, 316 
spine, 120 
spiritism, 82 
sprites, forest-, 161 
Sri, 299 

Sri-Bhratri, 296 
Staffordshire, 227 
stage-fools, 175 
stealing, 304-306 
stench, 122, 123 
sterility, 93, 96, 118, 192, 194 
Stockholm, 178 
storm, 261 
storm-cloud, 264 
Strdggeli, 218 

straw, 117 * 

Striga, 91, 108, 120, 127, 215, 218, 


Strighe, 218 
Succubi, 82 

and Witches, 87 


-God, 133, 135, 279-283 (see also 
horse as sun-god) 

-hero, 276 

as lion, 280, 282 

phallic, significance of, 278, 284, 
285, 286 

rays, 280, 285, 303 

-worship, 278, 285, 289 
sunamitism, 233 
Surya, 284 
Svadilfari, 250 
Svipall, 264 
swan, 70 
Swanhild, 253 
swan-maidens, 138, 144 
swan-shirt, 143 
Sweden, 224, 227, 234, 243 
Switzerland, 227 
sword, 282 
Sylvanus, 84 
symbolism, eye, 288, 289 

flatus, 307, 313 

phallic, 94, 120, 135, 138, 161, 
260, 278, 285, 288, 296, 303, 
306, 308 (see also Devil) 

seminal, 299, 303 

sexual, 207, 273, 318 

snake, 70, 94, 97, 169 
syncretism, 161, 163, 286 
Synod of Paderborn, 216 
Syria, 172, 279 

Table, Round (see Round Table) 

Taborites, 290 

tail, 287 

talion, 253 

Tartar, 142 

Tatos, 276, 322 

Taxil, 189 

tedium vitae, 211 

Telchines, 133 

telepathy, 100 

Teutonic, 97, 157, 159, 184, 209, 

218, 276, 302 
Texas, 133 
thanatos, 159 
Thebes, 93, 95 
theft, 304 

of eye, 288, 289 

of fire, 304 

of hat, 288 

of horse, 269 

of treasure, 305 
Thessalia, 106, 150 



Thor, 161, 162, 179 

thunder-hammer, 161 

Tipton, 227 

Tifol, 321 

Tirol, South, 245 

Titans, 174 

Tius, 159 

Tiwas, 159 

toes, 119 

tom-cat, (see cat) 

Tonkanays, 133 

Torquemada, 224 

totemism, 71, 81, 135, 321 

Toulouse, 187 

trance, 128 

Transylvania, 124 

treasure, 305 

Troad, 292 

Troy, 292 

Tryphiodoros, 280 

Tuesday, 159 

Tuivel, 158 

Turkey, 121, 124 

Tvashtris, 279 

Twelfth Night, 280, 312 

Typhon, 157 

Tyr, 179 

uber, 124 

Uccaihcrava, 277, 287, 306 

Ugolino, 17 

upier, 124 

Upierzyca, 118, 206 

Upsala, 253 

Uranos, 273 

urethral (see erotism) 

urination, 291, 298, 299, 317, 318, 

319, 338 
uvula, 29 


and blood-sucking, 98, 99, 116- 


connotations of, 124, 125 
and Devil, 187 
epidemics of, 121, 122 
etymology of, 124 
and guilt, 112, 113 
and Horse, 321 
and incest, 127 
and Incubi, 125-127 
and Nightmare, 127-129 
and plague, 122, 123 
present-day beliefs in, 123, 124 
treatment of, 116, 124, 126 

Vampire (contd.) 

and Werewolf, 144-148 

and Witches, 233, 234 
vapir, 124 
vargr, 152 
vargs, 152 
varsh, 333 
varul, 144 
Varuna, 289 
Vecha, 264 
Vedas, 280, 315 
vedic, 207, 289, 308, 333 
Vedida, 156 
Venus, 51, 162 
Verdun, Michel, 235 
Vereticus, 133 
verevulf, 152 
versipellis, 136 
vesica piscis, 301 
Vesta, 281 

Virgin Mary, 115, 140, 176, 177 
virgins, 87 
Vishnu, 93, 284, 301 
Voland, 162 
volkodlak, 137, 145 
Volsunga, 253 
vopyr, 124 
vrag, 1 86 
Vricas, 136 
wish, 333 

Vritra, 157, 162, 170 
vrykolakas, 123, 145 

Waldemar, 329 

Waldfrau, 218 

Wales, 233, 234, 284, 287, 294, 


Wallachia, 106, 121, 150 
Walriderske, 258 

wandering, nocturnal (see noctur- 
nal travelling) 
waroul, 137 
water, 291-293, 296 
Watte, 262 
ivearg, 152 
weather, 262 
Wednesday, 266 
Weimar, 329 
Weisse Frau, 218 
Wojjids, 249, 302 

and death, 145 

and Devil, 141, 146, 186 

etymology of, 136 

ghost Werewolf, 146 



Werewolf (contd.) 
and ghouls, 148 
and hare, 137 
and Horse, 321-323 
and Incubi, 143 
in mythology, 133-136 
and Nightmare, 148-151 
psychological significance of , 148 
transformation of, 133 
treatment of, 148 
and Vampire, 144-148 
and Witches, 140-143, 208, 234- 


wolfskin, 138, 139, 149 

wergeld, 136 

Weyer, Johannes, 125 

Weyland, 162 

widdershins, 185 

widows, 102 

Wieland, 162 

Wild Hunt, 146, 255, 261, 322, 325 

Wild Hunter, 161, 162 

Wind-god, 307 (see also horse) 

wind, west, 134, 284, 310 

winter, 132, 135 


charms against, 194, 195 

and Church, 214-223 

covens, 208 

and Devil, 197, 199-210, 232 

and Devil pact, 191, 199-201 

disappearance of, 225-230 

epidemics of, 213, 223-224 

and father-incest, 201, 202 

and heresy, 191, 215, 217 

and hysteria, 211-212 

and Incubi, 232 

and maleficium, 191-198, 215- 

218, 221 

and night-hag, 232, 233, 324, 325 
and Nightmare, 231-232 
and night travel, 203-208, 218 
and possession, 211 
and Sabbath, 199, 202-208, 219, 


salve, 206-208 

and sexual impotence, 192-194, 

Witches (contd.) 

stigmata of, 211, 212 

terror of, 197 

trials of, 223-228 

and Vampires, 233, 234 

and Werewolves, 208, 234-235 

and Wild Hunt, 325 
witch-finders, 212 
witch-riding, 324 
Wjeschtitza, 127 

association with corpses, 132 

-dances, 133 

Devil as arch-wolf, 186 

as emblem of craftiness, 132 

as emblem of death, 132 

as emblem of night, 132 

as emblem of winter, 132 

-goat, 136 

-god, 132, 133, 135 

-god as psychopomp, 132 

rye-wolf (Roggenwolf) , 149 

-skin, 135, 137, 138 

wolf of hell, 1 86 

women, attitude of Church to- 
wards, 221, 222 
worlin, 137 
Wos, 262 
Wotan, 162, 262, 263, 265, 266, 

289 (see also Odin) 
wrog, 1 86 
wroul, 137 
Wunsch, 266 
Wunschross (see horse, as magic 

wuot, 262 

Yahweh, 157, 158, 173 
Ynglingasaga, 253 
yoni, 301 

Zend-Avesta, 156, 296 

Zeus, 70, 94, 133, 135, 159, 161, 

162, 172, 273, 279, 281 
Zio, 159 
Zmora, 330 
Zodiac, 280, 286 
Zoroastrianism, 82, 160